I thought it was about time I put pen to paper, so to speak. We have had a busy time in the last 5 months and all to the good of the Walk and testament to Dad’s Army dedication and commitment.
Before I continue, I will mention some contact news.
I had an email from Norm Deveraux. Both he and Margaret are doing well: she has a check up early June but is feeling confident. We wish you all the very best. You are in our thoughts.
I phoned Ron Woodrow and had a good chat with him and Ivy. He is doing well, however, in his words ‘a bit wobbly’. He wants me to put in an application for a gate pass for him as he spoke to Ken Cupples last week – you know the rest of the tune – Anything Ken can do I can do better—-. If he can come in on a Monday he will be welcomed with open arms.
As I said above, we have had a busy time not only with projects to enhance the Walk but also some social occasions.
We started off with a 2 RAR ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of KIA of Peter Kawolski. Members of 2 Pl A Coy 2 RAR at the time decided to hold his service at the Walk – they came from far and wide during Covid lockdown to remember a mate. Over 30 turned up and the service was conducted by us and Padre Leo Oreall (ex 6 RAR) and ended with a convivial smoko. However, they soon took off to Gaythorne RSL for more appropriate liquid refreshments.
The Commemoration of the 3 RAR Memorial Garden. This garden to the north of the Contemplation Building was jointly funded by 3 RAR Corporation and the NMW. 3 RAR Corporation had decided to fold and distributed some of their funds to the construction of this Memorial Garden to those who served, are currently serving and will in the future with “Old Faithful”
The Commemoration was held on a rainy day in the Contemplation Building where Padre Lionel Orreal conducted the Service. There were in excess of 50 people attending including the NMW Patron Major General Stuart Smith AO CSC, a contingent from NQ led by Bob Dabinett who had a hand in organizing the event and 3 RARC Brisbane members. It was a historic event with Mick Servos (now 95 years old), the man who initiated the proposal for the National Memorial and saw its completion, officially unveiled the memorial plaque set in the Garden. It was a pleasure to see the Servos family (all four generations of them). Mick was escorted by his grandson Dane Christison (5/7 RAR: a veteran of service in East Timor and Iraq) and his granddaughter Naomi with her two sons Martin and Tobie. Apart from the weather it was a grand and meaningful day. A full report with photographs is posted on our NMW website
Long Hai Commemoration Day.
As has been the preference in the last 2 years we hosted it for 8 RAR. Once again, a memorable event with Errol marching the old and bold to the Contemplation Building for the service. A moving ceremony and after a teetotal smoko so they all headed off to the Gaythorne RSL.
Covid 19 restrictions on entry to Gallipoli Barracks again this year interfered with our regular Dawn Service at The Walk. Instead, Ted and I decided that we would stay true to our motto of Keeping the Spirit Alive by conducting our own Dawn Service at the Walk. We were joined by Karyn Chitham, Barry Shipway, Ross Langford and a visiting Warrant Officer from 8/9 RAR. Admittedly, not many but, in spirit were our 706 men commemorated at the Walk. The feeling was present with all memorial Australian flags flying and we could go lay a Poppy at our mates’ plaques. A wreath was laid at the RAR Memorial in nearby off-base Ferguson Park
We will work very hard to have the Walk re-established as a priority venue to be well attended on Remembrance Day and ANZAC Day next year. I have plans in place!
Work Completed – In between all this we got some work done!
The concrete slab has been laid around the Contemplation Building and it looks a treat. We are now waiting for it to cure properly before we put a stenciled or coloured top on it. This is needed as it does look pretty stark as is and with all the trees around the leaves fall on it and stain the surface and any other blemishes are evident in what I refer to as the sacrosanct area.
The western bank has been transformed into a walk/mower friendly slight bank. It has a metal safety fence to the rear which is painted in flat green (not olive drab!) and stainless-steel wiring runs through it to make the spaces safe. It looks really splendid.
The kerbing on the western side of the “walk path” in the Korea area has been completed. It will hopefully help with avoiding the flooding and erosion among the garden trees and plaques.
New grass has been laid on both the Western Bank and the Sadlier Street footpath edge.
All of the above work, except for the 3 RARC donation, has been achieved by successful grants and for this we must thank our Project Officer, Greg Decker. Not only for the grants, but, for the amount of work that he personally puts in, with the able help of his son Luke. Greg, I know you wrote the Business Plan for the Walk and you dobbed me in to chase the grants, but as the old saying goes, “Why fix it if it a’int broke”. But I do promise mate I am learning all the time and I am pretty sure how the process works so I will take it on board. Although Greg and Luke’s project work are paramount, I can put nothing but praise on the rest of Dads’ Army for their dedication to the Walk’s maintenance. My sincere thanks and gratitude to you all.
We have put in work requests to both Spotless and Defence to have the Kapyong Car Park resurfaced and a footpath to be constructed on the Lavarack Parade front of the Contemplation Building
Financially, the Walk is sound and we have paid for all projects. The future looks rosy so I will sign off here.
My fond and grateful regards to you all.
Manager RAR NMW
P.S. For all that were wondering, my lovely daughter gave me a fine Grandson this week and all is well