Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 6 2011 Contents DEFENCE MAGAZINE
Defence leaders host
A walk to remember
By Major Lea Dunn
scholarship students to experience the
qualities of resilience, courage, leadership
and endurance that the original
Cherbourg people had needed to survive.
The Commanding Officer of 9RQR,
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Bond,
welcomed the opportunity for his
soldiers to be exposed to Aboriginal
culture and history.
“One of the magic aspects of this
experience is that both students and
soldiers were able to walk in the paths
of their forbears, as the 2/9th Battalion
camped and trained near Kilcoy before
they went to fight the Japanese in New
Guinea inWorldWar 2.”
In preparation for the walk, the
soldiers met with Aunty LesleyWilliams,
an Aboriginal elder who grew up in
Cherbourg, to hear her personal story and
learn about the mission and its history.
Aunty Lesley asked them to reflect on
the history and journey of the original
inhabitants of Cherbourg, and many soldiers
were shocked by Aunty Lesley’s story.
The walk tested the students
physically and mentally, but the
9RQR soldiers were impressed by the
motivation fostered byYalari. In camp,
the soldiers set up a series of confidence
and trust exercises for the students that
impressed Lieutenant Colonel Bond.
“I really got to see our lads step up
even further into the instructor/coach/
mentor role.They did so well and the
students loved it,” Lieutenant Colonel
Soldiers also presented awards to four
students who best demonstrated the
Army values of courage, initiative and
teamwork. As each name was read out,
a soldier stepped forward, ripped the
9RQR patch from his arm and presented
it to the student to sounds of admiration
from the audience.
Before entering Cherbourg, the group
paused to remember those who did the
original walk.The vibrant community of
approximately 2000 Aboriginal people
has its own culture and identity and
many turned out to celebrate the safe
arrival of the ExerciseYalari participants.
“I was not at all surprised by how
our lads stood up to the different
challenges, how hard they worked, how
they extended themselves out of their
comfort zones, how they respectfully
treated everyone on the walk or the
great effect that they had on the kids.
“What did catch me a bit by surprise
was the profound and ongoing effect
that the experience has had on them,”
Lieutenant Colonel Bond says.
Yalari organiser and founding director
Waverley Stanley was equally impressed.
“There was a wonderful sense of
comradeship and friendship within
your crew which allowed for an easy
mergence of the two groups.
“I think that the walk surpassed all
of our expectations and the memories
of some of the students struggling
to finish, determined not to give up
despite aching limbs and blisters, being
constantly encouraged by your men, will
stay with me for a long time.”
To enjoy more personal stories,
photos, videos and messages from
ExerciseYalari 2011, visit 9RQR’s
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.
positive defence relations with China
through dialogue and practical activities.
“General Ma’s visit was a valuable
opportunity to deepen our personal
and senior level ties and build on our
Defence engagement achievements,”
Air Marshal Binskin says.
“This round-table facilitated
constructive and frank conversations on
regional strategic and security issues.”
During the visit, General Ma also
co-chaired the 14th annual Australia-
China Defence Strategic Dialogue with
the Vice Chief of the Defence Force and
the Deputy Secretary Strategy, Peter
Jennings, at HMAS Watson in Sydney.
General Ma also visited RAAF Base
Williamtown to view a static display of
Australia’s F/A-18F Super Hornet and
Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and
A plan for enhancing Defence
engagement during the next two years was
agreed at the dialogue and demonstrates
Australia and China’s joint commitment to
fur ther develop our defence relationship.
(9RQR), took 37 Aboriginal
andTorres Strait Islander
teenagers on a five-day
115km trek from Kilcoy to
the Aboriginal community
of Cherbourg in south-
east Queensland as part of
The inaugural commemorative walk
to Cherbourg retraced the steps of
Aboriginal people who were forcibly
removed from their settlement
at Durundur, nearWoodford, to
Cherbourg in 1905.
The walk was organised byYalari, a not-
for-profit organisation offering secondary
school scholarships to Indigenous
children from remote, rural and regional
communities across Australia.
Proudly supported by 9RQR, it
provided an opportunity for theYalari
The Secretary of Defence,
Duncan Lewis, and the Vice
Chief of the Defence Force, Air
Marshal Mark Binskin, met
with the Deputy Chief of Gen-
eral Staff People’s Liberation
Army, General Ma Xiaotian, in
Canberra during the second
week of November.
The meeting was followed by a round-
table with senior military and civilian
leaders in Defence.
“China is a very impor tant par tner for
Australia in the region. Our Defence
relationship is a key component of our
broader bilateral relationship,” Mr Lewis says.
“The cooperation, dialogue and
communication between our two Defence
organisations plays an important role in
ensuring our relationship continues with a
long-term, constructive outlook.’
Air Marshal Binskin says Australia was
committed to developing strong and
“We committed to developing
further the relationship between our
two militaries, including in the areas
of maritime security, humanitarian
assistance and disaster relief cooperation,
peacekeeping exchanges, senior-level
dialogue and professional and working
level exchanges,” Mr Jennings says.
Mr Jennings welcomed the frank and
positive discussions held with General Ma
during his visit.
“I am par ticularly pleased that we agreed
to fur ther areas for Defence engagement and
cooperation,” Mr Jennings says.
Last year the dialogue was hosted by
General Chen Bingde, Chief of General
Staff, People’s Liberation Army and held
in General Chen’s hometown of Nantong,
Jiangsu Province, China, and attended by
the former Secretary of Defence, Dr Ian
Watt, and former Chief of the Defence
Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston.
Mr Lewis says he is looking forward to
visiting China with the Chief of the Defence
Force, General David Hurley, in 2012 to co-
host the 15th annual dialogue.
The Deputy Chief of the General Staff Department of the People’s Liberation Army, General
Ma Xiaotian, sitting with the Deputy Secretary Strategy, Mr Peter Jennings, during his visit to
HMASWatson. Photo: Leading Seaman Brenton Freind
Soldiers from Nine Royal Queensland Regiment pause on their way
into the Aboriginal community of Cherbourg.
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