8 October, 2018
As President, I have the privilege of meeting some extraordinary people, and this has been particularly true over the past two weeks.
In 1914, hundreds of young men boarded a troop train travelling from Winton to Brisbane, on their way to fight in World War I. More than 100 years later, veteran Wayne McMurtrie ran the 1,500km route in reverse, over 22 days, to raise awareness of PTSD. I caught up with Wayne at a Civic Reception in his honour in Mackay, and was able to chat with him about his remarkable achievement.
I was in Roma for the centennial commemoration of the Roma Heroes’ Avenue. One hundred years ago, the people of Roma began planting an avenue of bottle trees to honour the local men who had given their lives on foreign soil. Today, 140 trees line the Heroes’ Avenue – a humbling sight.
A second centenary was celebrated by the Tweed Heads & Coolangatta Sub Branch – this time, marking 100 years since its foundation. From less than a dozen members at its inaugural meeting, the Sub Branch has grown to number roughly 6,000. With this being the final year of the WWI Centenary, there are many other Sub Branches that have reached this milestone, a testament to the valuable work the RSL has been doing over the past century.
I also recently had the pleasure of presenting three members of the Brisbane North District with Life Member Gold Badges, recognising their outstanding service to the League.
While I was travelling, I had the opportunity to talk with local members about issues affecting the League. This sort of one-on-one discussion is so valuable for understanding what is important to you, and I look forward to many more of these discussions in the coming months.
This year, Veterans’ Health Week focussed on the importance of nutrition. Eating well doesn’t have to be a battle, but it makes an enormous difference to your physical and mental health.
The Sunshine Coast & Regional District organised a two-hour cooking masterclass with celebrity chef Matt Golinski and dietitian Danica Warren, which aimed to teach veterans how to cook healthily for themselves and their families. A great initiative that was well attended by both the local Defence family and media.
Police Remembrance Day has particular significance for me; like many other ex-servicemen and women, I joined the police force after discharging from the RAAF. This year, I was able to attend both the very moving Police Remembrance Service at St John’s Cathedral as well as the candlelight vigil at the Queensland Police Service Academy.
At the last State Board Meeting, Directors began working with the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Governance Analysis Tool, which provided some direction on skills the Board needs to supplement.
The Constitution Working Party is continuing to work on the Constitution, polishing the document to bring it closer to the point where we can share it with you all. This has been a very intense and comprehensive process, and I thank all involved in its compilation.
We are now very close to releasing a draft Constitution, which will then be posted to the RSL Queensland website for all members to review.
Commander Josh Wilson has recently been appointed Commanding Officer of HMAS Brisbane, which will be commissioned later this month. He has indicated that he would like to engage with us on some events in future, which will be very exciting as it has been a very long time since the city of Brisbane has had its own City Ship. So watch this space!
Until next time, take care.
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