The social and inclusive power of netball knows no boundaries, and Navy Leading Seaman Stacey Allden is living proof.
Amid the duty of service our members of the Australian Defence Force commit to, in Allden’s case, her passion for netball – a sport that she started playing at the age of seven from her hometown, Geelong – is still a major part of her life.
Allden joined the Navy in 2001, after completing her VCE and in limbo as to what she wanted to do with her life, and whether tertiary education was going to be right for her.
“I chose the Navy because my family owned a yacht and I’d spent a lot of time around our local yacht club and I felt that I had a lot more knowledge of the sea as opposed to being in the field with Army or the Air Force.”
Straight out of her graduation as a Navy Seaman, Allden joined HMAS Melbourne and was deployed to the Middle East in a matter of weeks. Now a Leading Seaman, Allden has since completed two other operational deployments to the Middle East.
Allden, a mother of one, has now found balance in her life as a careers counsellor, currently posted to the Defence Force Recruiting Centre in Melbourne.
“I interview candidates in relation to their eligibility to join and play a role in the counselling and mentor phase before the applicants go off for their assessment,” she said.
“It’s been great to see a rise in women applicants. I enjoy talking to women applicants.”
“There have been those in the past who haven’t felt strong, competitive or confident enough, to apply for Defence positions but through counselling and mentoring and the ‘Women In Defence’ campaign, we’re definitely seeing a rise.”
On the netball side of things, it took until 2003 for Allden to discover Netball in the Defence Force scene, with her first carnival being the Kapooka Netball 7s (K7s); a competition held In Wagga Wagga, NSW for netball players, within Defence, to compete against other Defence teams.
“From 2007, I got the opportunity to play for NSW in the Australian Defence Force Combined Netball Competition; where ADF teams come together and compete state versus state in mixed, men’s and women’s competitions,” Allden said.
In 2012, I was selected to represent Navy in the first service competition, where Navy, Army and Air Force competed against each other and have also represented the ADF in mixed netball at Nationals.
“I had the year 2008 off following the birth of my son, but have been a part of the competition in 2009, 10, 12 and 13.
“We’ve had the chance to travel all over Australia playing netball with a different state hosting the carnival held annually. It’s been a great outlet to keep pursuing something I did when I was younger.”