Sub-Branch Committee

Bob Durbin

President elected 9th March 2017 | Chaplain appointed 22nd September 2010

(Executive Member)

Born in 1953. Spent childhood in the Port Adelaide district of South Australia. Joined the RAN as a Naval Artificer Apprentice (NAA) when 16 and served for 20 years. Core training was as in the electrical trades with a side issue of major weapons systems.


From HMAS Nirimba went to sea in Sydney, Melbourne and Duchess before going ashore to HMAS Waterhen. Selected to learn about and write the electrical training courses for the new class of patrol boats (Fremantles) and went to England and Germany for training, before returning to Waterhen.


Back to sea in HMAS Yarra and after sea time became part of The Fleet Vibration Analysis Team, attached to the Office of the Fleet Marine Engineering Officer. This was a five-year posting before returning to sea in HMAS Stuart.


Final posting was on promotion to Warrant Officer at HMAS Cerberus taking up the position as the Quality Control Officer for the Weapons Electrical Engineering School for the RAN.


Was in the Naval Reserve until 25th June 2018 when discharged as an ‘old bloke’!


Worked at RSL State Branch NSW as the Administration Manager and also at the City of Parramatta RSL sub-Branch as the full time Secretary, Pensions, Welfare and Funeral Officer, with a collateral duty as Treasurer.


Joined the City of Blacktown RSL sub-Branch in 1990. Positions held were, Committee, Pensions, Delegate to DC, Delegate to ASC and President. Also privileged to be a State Councillor for 14 years, serving on many committees.


My part time ministry as a lay preacher began in the mid 90’s. Commissioned as a Pastor of the Uniting Church in 2010 at which time accepted the call to serve as a full time Chaplain at the War Vets.


In 2017 Bob transferred membership to The War Vets and has been the President since that time.

Roy Parkinson

Vice President elected 9th March 2023.

Details to be supplied.

John Sowden

Secretary elected 12th March 2020

(Executive Member)

Born in Sydney 23 April 1941 and lived at Northwood on Sydney’s lower North Shore.


Dad was in the RAAF.


At age 10, moved to Brisbane and enjoyed the rest of my primary schooling at ‘Churchie’. Back to Sydney in 1956. Completed secondary schooling at Barker College, Hornsby. Following the Leaving Certificate, deferred University and accepted the offer to enter RMC Duntroon with 75 other aspiring young men in January 1960.


Had the ambition to graduate as an Army Officer with a university degree (UNSW). The link between the University of NSW and RMC collapsed in 1961. Requesting discharge in February 1962, when taking up the deferred university opportunity, working and studying part time, graduating in 1967 with Bachelor of Economics from Sydney University. Married to Elizabeth in 1966.


Work commenced as a market research officer with Colgate-Palmolive before joining the transport company that did all of Colgate’s product distribution across Australia. Attempting to gain further experience in the transport industry, leave of absence was granted before emigrating to Canada in June 1968, living in Vancouver before returning to Australia via Europe in December 1969. Two children – daughter 1970, son 1972.


In 1972 bought a newsagency at Abbotsford Point. Built up the business before selling in 1976 and moving to the Blue Mountains.


Worked with a bulk haulage company at Lidsdale (west of Lithgow) from 1977. Established own company, 5 years later, a bulk haulage and storage company called “Mountain Bulk Haulage” with its office in Leura.


Elected to the board of Blue Mountains Grammar School in 1989, was Chairman 1991-2006.


In 2006 we visited Uganda and have since been involved as volunteers with a primary school and health centre in a poor peasant village called Ibulanku. It has 240 students with 50 children sponsored and we also sponsor achievers into secondary school as boarders.


Left Leura residence in August 2014 and downsized to the Dardanelles, at War Vets RSL LifeCare Village.


Joined RSL NSW – War Veterans Village (Narrabeen) RSL sub-Branch on 12th May 2016. Served as Vice President, Trustee, Congress Delegate and now Secretary.

Peter Cole


Appointed December 2021

Elected at AGM 9th March 2023

(Executive Member)

Website Coordinator

Born in England, Peter is the son of a decorated Royal Navy NCO Submariner who brought his family to Australia in 1958 shortly before he retired from the service in 1961.

Educated at Manly Boys High until 1964 Peter had various jobs until he was called up for National Service in 1967. Following recruit training at Puckapunyal in Victoria, he served the remainder of his two years at Headquarters – Eastern Command at Paddington.

Leaving the Army in 1969 he joined the ANZ Bank where he worked in various branches until 1981 when he left to take up a position with a local Credit Union from where he retired in 2007.

He married Helen in 1969 – they have two daughters and three grandchildren.

He was a member of a local Apex Club for several years and has been a Justice of the Peace since the early 70’s.

Peter enjoys lawn bowls at Seaforth BC where he has been a member since 1992, cycling, kayaking and has recently started a small vegetable garden

Leigh Haines

Fundraising Coordinator


Leigh was born in Balgowlah in 1940 and lived most of his life in Avalon Beach. He was educated at Newport Public School and Manly Boys’ High School, then undertook tertiary education in business management with Hemmingway Roberson. Leigh worked in the family retail business in Avalon Beach and a large company in London UK.

He was conscripted into National Service in 1959 and on completion of basic training was posted to the air defence regiment in Dee Why. Working through the ranks, he became a gun sergeant in 1962 and was commissioned in 1963 with a posting to Recruit Training Officer.

Leigh was transferred to the Officer Training Group, Eastern Command in 1968 and in 1974, was discharged from the Army Reserve after close to 15 years’ service.

Leigh Married Tricia in 1967. They have 3 sons and six grandchildren. During the years from 1959 to 1984, the family business prospered and diversified into two businesses. Tricia and Leigh bought one of the businesses.

In 1984, Leigh felt the need for a new challenge, so Tricia took over the business and Leigh became a business counsellor with the NSW Government’s commerce portfolio. He held various roles within the government including ministerial policy advisor and between 1993 and 2000 held the position of general manager of the small business branch.

In 1999, Tricia sold the business and in 2000 after working on the Olympic Business Program, Leigh retired from full-time employment. Over the next few years, Tricia and Leigh ran a business, consulting to government and small businesses.

In 2020, Tricia and Leigh sold the family home of some 50 years and moved to ANZAC Village.


Visitation Officer

Jan Slater

Membership Registrar

Non-Committee Position

Born in Sydney in 1937. Employed as a High School Teacher of Science, English as a Second Language (ESL) and Special Education. Taught at many Northern Beaches High Schools, including Pittwater House for 9 years. Also taught English at a University in Tokyo, Japan for 5 years.


Father was a Bomb-Aimer in the RAAF. He trained in Canada ending up in RAF Squadron 199. Was killed in a Stirling Bomber which crash landed in England.


Interests include, playing the piano, dancing, travel, reading biographies and watching historic and geographical documentaries.


Joined the War Veterans Village (Narrabeen) RSL sub-Branch as an Affiliate member in 2014 and have occasionally helped Pattie Page with member contact and visitation.

Reserved for new Committee Member

Committee Member

John Sowden

Trustee – Perpetual appointment continued 12th March 2020

Ian Masters

Trustee – Perpetual appointment

John Hillard

Trustee – Perpetual appointment continued 12th March 2020