Project Description

Melanie Ludmila SOROKINE was interviewed by Margaret Dawson for the Busselton Oral History Group (Inc) on the 11th June 2014. It is one of a series of recorded interviews with ex-service personnel funded by Lotterywest to celebrate the Anzac Centenary.

Melanie was born in Perth in 1975. Her family lived in Lathlain. Melanie was educated at Lathlain Primary School and completed her secondary education at St Joachim Catholic College.

After leaving school aged 17 she commenced studying for a Diploma of Music but was unable to complete these studies at that time and worked at various jobs, including teaching music to private students.

Aged 25, Melanie enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy for a four-year term and elected to study as a medic.

Melanie talks about the different aspects of her training and the naval facilities where she was based, first at HMAS Cerberus Melbourne, then HMAS Albatross at the Fleet Arm Base in Nowra, New South Wales. While at Nowra she spent time training on two ships, the HMAS Arunta and the HMAS Anzac.

She was then posted to the HMAS Kanimbla which was based in Darwin and patrolling in the Timor Sea and around Christmas Island searching for illegal boat people.

After returning to Nowra Melanie was posted to the HMAS Stuart and sailed to the Persian Gulf on ‘Operation Catalyst’. They patrolled the oil fields in the Gulf.

She describes an incident where American sailors were killed and injured when a bomb was detonated on a fishing vessel they boarded. The dead and injured were taken aboard the HMAS Stuart and, as a medic, Melanie was involved in the care and treatment of these men, who had horrific shrapnel injuries, until they were moved off the ship by helicopter.

Melanie was discharged from the navy in 2007.

She and her partner Kim purchased a block of land in Port Geographe, Busselton and built a home. At first Melanie found it difficult to relax and settle down.

She resumed her studies to complete a Diploma of Music. She works part time in a pharmacy and teaches piano.

Melanie is a member of the RSL and attends the Anzac Day services in Busselton.