Donovan

Surname: Donovan
Christian Names: Steven James
Country: Australia
State or Province: QLD
City or Town: Ipswich
Case Notes:

Steven James Donovan is now purporting to be a spokesman for a group who are calling themselves the "Sydney Discovery Project", and putting forward some dubious claims of knowledge of the location of the HMAS Sydney, sunk in mysterious circumstances off the West Australian coast in 1941.

Their alleged "known" location is hundreds of kilometres away from the area generally accepted by long standing researchers to be the actual site.

 

Enquiries about Donovan and the Sydney Discovery Project have brought to light a number of media reports and statements from ANZMI supporters about some of the bizarre activities of Steven James Donovan.

In Brisbane's "Courier Mail" on 24 April 2002, the paper reported that the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) declined to prosecute Donovan for wearing bogus military decorations. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) confiscated the bogus medals and sent a brief of evidence to the DPP, who eventually decided not to prosecute Donovan. The DPP decision drew criticism from the Queensland RSL. The newspaper goes on to state that in May 2001, Donovan was accused of stealing a statue of a Fallen Soldier from an Ipswich memorial, then hacking down plants that he later claimed were "obscuring the view" of another monument, and defacing a sandstone memorial by painting it with coloured paint, effectively ruining the sandstone.

Another report from the "Courier Mail" on 7 February 2005, details how Donovan contributed articles to a locally funded colour brochure entitled "Ipswich's Wartime History in Our Streets".

The brochure had to be withdrawn after printing because of factual errors made in the brochure. Donovan claimed he was not the sole contributor and denied any knowledge of the errors. The chairman of Ipswich Heritage (and town councillor) Paul Tully, said that it was astounding that Mr Donovan, an impostor well known to genuine Ipswich veterans, was ever consulted or allowed to contribute to such an important historical document.

ANZMI has statements from persons who verify that over at least four years, Donovan has made many and varied claims to military service, including being a commissioned officer in the Special Air Service

(SAS) and as a peacekeeper in Cambodia, Somalia, and Western Sahara.

Steven James Donovan's real military career is somewhat less glamorous than his inflated claims. His records show:

Service Number: 183101

Enlisted: 27 January 1985

Discharged: 15 February 1994

Rank and Unit on Discharge: Trooper, 2nd Cavalry Regiment. (Private soldier equivalent)

There is nothing to suggest that Donovan's real military service was anything other than honourable, and once again we see a genuine serviceman who should be proud of contribution to Australia attempting to enhance his service with fanciful claims and false medals.

Steven Donovan has again appeared in the public eye, this time purporting to represent a group called "Sydney Discovery Project" and has made claims that he knows the location of the wreck of HMAS Sydney, sunk in 1941. He has approached the Curator of WA's Maritime Museum with his claims, however the Museum is reluctant to accept these claims without further proof.

The claims that this group knows the location of HMAS Sydney go back some time. Among the public records are mentions of "Sydney Discovery Project" on the ABC's "Stateline" program in South Australia on 11 March 2005. This program was repeated in Queensland on 1 April 2005, essentially unchanged from the SA edition. In the TV interview, Dr Mike McCarthy, of WA Maritime Museum states that the group has not provided the museum with any verifiable information, and whilst not dismissing the claims out of hand, he is waiting on further information from the Group.

Again and more recently, on 17 January 2006 the "Bulletin" weekly news magazine published a letter to the editor written by "S. J. Donovan, Sydney Discovery Project, Brisbane Qld" with more opinions on the fate of HMAS Sydney.

The location of the wreck of HMAS Sydney and the fate of the 645 crew is a matter of national concern, and even more important to the families of the deceased crew members. The Sydney Discovery Project is one of the many organisations, both official and private, that are researching the true facts. When one of these groups has a spokesman who is a known military impostor, it would be very prudent to demand concrete evidence of that group's findings before allocating public funds to them, and raising hopes of families who have never learned the fate of their loved one.

Recent advice from the Office of Australian War Graves confirms that ownership of the wreck of the HMAS Sydney is vested with the Australian Government in line with Australian legislation and the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) even if the shipwreck is found in international waters.

Australian States have a system of control under the Historic Shipwrecks Act, 1976 and are responsible for monitoring access to these sites.

In addition, the Minister for Environment and Heritage has publicly stated his intention to immediately declare HMAS Sydney an historic shipwreck and a protected zone as soon as the actual site is discovered.

A reputable search group is currently analysing data from an extensive aerial search.

If any person or group, including Donovan's, has intentions of exploiting the wreck site or somehow gaining financial advantage from either government funding, salvage rights, or commercial dive use, they will be badly disappointed.

 

This is published in the public interest, particularly that of the  Veteran Community. All information presented here is fact and the truth. Reports from private citizens are supported by statements of fact and statutory declarations.

 

Located in: Stolen Valour
Powered by Sigsiu.NET