Gold Coast apartment block Rudland’s Reach – the RSL Art Union’s richest ever prize – has a worthy namesake.
Rudland Reach was named in honour of former Australian Army Commando Peter Rudland, who served his country through deployments to Cambodia, Iraq, Timor Leste and Afghanistan.
It is impossible to describe the look on Pete Rudland’s face when he first laid eyes on 1449 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach.
RSL Art Union’s richest ever prize – a Gold Coast apartment block, with its sprawling, luxury penthouse and five beautifully furnished apartments, plus two Audi cars – is named ‘Rudland’s Reach’ in his honour.
Pete, as he insists on being known, is typical of the ex-servicemen and women RSL Queensland strives to assist – though he is a thoroughly remarkable man.
Pete injured in a helicopter crash that killed his mates
Sergeant Rudland was an Australian Army Commando who served his country through deployments to Cambodia, Iraq, Timor Leste and Afghanistan. He sustained numerous critical musculoskeletal injuries in a 2010 Black Hawk helicopter crash that claimed the lives of three fellow Australian Commandos and a US soldier.
On leaving the Army in 2017, Pete immediately found a leadership role for himself as Australia’s 2017 Invictus Games co-captain, where he also won gold medals in two cycling events.
In 2018, he competed at his third Invictus Games in cycling and wheelchair rugby.
“I thought Invictus 2018 would provide a great opportunity for all the people that have been involved in my rehabilitation to see how far I have come and, in some way, see how much I appreciate everything people have done for me,” Pete said.
Speaking at the Rudland’s Reach dedication ceremony, RSL Queensland State President Tony Ferris drew a line from the Armistice that ended fighting in WWI a century ago through to the needs of today’s ex-service community.
“Although conditions of service may have changed over the years, the underlying challenges faced by current and former ADF members are not new,” Tony said.
Prize homes help meet changing veteran needs
“However, there is increased awareness and commitment to ensuring that these challenges do not impact future generations as they have past generations. RSL Art Union prize homes enable us to continue to have the capacity to meet the changing needs of veterans.
“From emergency housing and financial assistance to employment programs and relocation services, the sale of RSL Art Union tickets provides RSL Queensland with the capacity to deliver an unprecedented suite of services for our veterans and their families.”
While she has an enviable job – breaking the news to prize home winners – RSL Lotteries General Manager Tracey Bishop is unequivocal in describing the best part of her job.
“Through prize home ticket sales, RSL Queensland has undertaken world-first research into PTSD, developed homeless veteran programs and offered scholarships to spouses and family members of Defence service personnel so they can access tertiary education,” Tracey said.
“Significantly, we created Mates4Mates support service for contemporary veterans, and through it we provide ongoing funding to deliver rehabilitation and adventure programs to ex-servicemen and women and their families.”
Pete is grateful for RSL's support
For many, it’s a natural pathway from Mates4Mates to the Invictus Games. For Pete Rudland, it’s seen the revival of his competitive spirit, and he trained hard to try and post better times at the Sydney Invictus Games than he did last year in Toronto.
“I’m really grateful to the RSL in Queensland for the support it’s provided to me and my family,” Pete said.
“Art Union is a great way to raise funds for the work the RSL does, and someone has to win this amazing building in this beautiful spot. I’d be happy just to win one of the cars!”
A winner has already been drawn for this apartment complex. If you would like to buy tickets in the next Art Union draw and support our veterans, visit the RSL Art Union.