Goondiwindi Veteran's Booklet

Veterans' Stories: Goondiwindi RSL Sub Branch

RSL Queensland 16 June 2020

Capturing the history of members.

By: Goondiwindi RSL Sub Branch patron Karen Woods, who spent 18 months compiling the stories of Goondiwindi members in a heartfelt booklet to be shared among family and friends.

In 2018, I was made patron of Goondiwindi RSL Sub Branch – a great honour. I believed the role should encompass the objectives and principles of RSL Queensland as well as provide support to our members.

Being mindful of the ongoing challenges our servicemen and women face, and having huge respect for Goondiwindi members, I wanted to persuade each of them to tell their story and compile them into a booklet.

This would enable them to share what life was like before, during and after service. The aim was for members to read each other’s stories and be encouraged to talk to each other in a way that offered some unofficial ‘counselling’.


Goondiwindi RSL Sub Branch patron Karen Woods

They were assured that the booklet would not be published as a whole, but that it would likely be shown to family and friends, which is their prerogative. The booklet took 18 months to compile and contains 22 wonderful stories. Now the project is complete, to say I’m happy is an understatement!

The booklet is a great read and I feel privileged to have been given each story – all so different and yet extremely interesting, with bits of humour scattered throughout. At the start of every story is a photo of each member in uniform with accompanying service badge. Every member was given a booklet to keep.

My appreciation goes to Tracey Jensen and her team from My Design Copy Shop, who helped with layout and printing and demonstrated immeasurable patience during the process.

Sincere acknowledgement must also go to photographer Wayne Pratt, who took photos of members and their medals. Wayne’s continued support has contributed enormously towards the success of the booklet.

One of the veterans included in the booklet was Shannon Billsborough.

 

SHANNON BILLSBOROUGH

  • Born 16 December 1976 in Brisbane, QLD
  • Shannon was born in Brisbane and raised in Caloundra.
  • She joined the Army when she finished Year 12.

DATE OF ENLISTMENT

  • 1 October 1996

RECRUIT TRAINING

  • Kapooka, NSW for 12 weeks.
  • Core Training: Royal Australian Core of Transport as an Operational Mover at Puckapunyal Victoria for 12 weeks.
  • Unit – JMCO Darwin

DEPLOYMENTS

  • East Timor – 2000, 2001, 2004
  • Banda Acha – 2005
  • Solomon Islands – 2006
  • Iraq – 2006, 2007
  • Transferred to RAAF in 2008, Shannon was medically discharged from the Defence Force on 15 December 2010, after serving for 15 years. 

Shannon was awarded a military pension because of the injuries she sustained while serving. Now a busy mother, she loves to go to the gym and enjoys walking, swimming and yoga in her spare time.

Shannon enjoyed her training days at Kapooka, saying they were uneventful because she “kept out of trouble!”

However, she went on to say “When I was at Puckapunyal, six of us decided to break the rules and had a beer each in the lines. Then we went off to Seymour without permission for the evening. Another person at the pub ‘dobbed’ us in. So next day back at camp, we had to explain! Got two charges for drinking in lines and AWL. So, we had ROPs (Restrictions of Privileges) for seven days and had to stay in gaol at the same time.”

Shannon added, “They say that to be a real ‘soldier’ you have to have been in trouble at some time!”

Tags:
  • Veteran stories
  • History & commemoration