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Army March 17, 2011
By Flt-Lt John McCourt
A PROUD serving major cel-
ebrated 50 years of service at a
special dining-in night at the his-
toric Larrakeyah Barracks Mess
on February 15.
It was a double celebration for
Maj Trevor Smith as it was also his
Maj Smith has seen service in
Vietnam and is still serving, hav-
ing recently secured an 18-month
extension to fulfil a special role with
Maj Smith's military involve-
ment has been one of commitment
and opportunity, and his never-say-
never ethos has served him well.
After joining the Army in
January 1962 when he was 15,
he undertook a range of postings
before eventually transferring to
the ARes in January 1971 -- along
the way serving a number of roles
in Balcombe (Victoria), Sydney,
Vietnam, back to Sydney and then
Papua New Guinea.
Although he eventually returned
to Army full-time, it has been as a
reservist that Maj Smith's determina-
tion and commitment showed through.
Having successfully negotiated
his way out of compulsory retire-
ment at age 47, his retirement age
was changed to 55. He had another
windfall as his 55th birthday came
along just as the retirement age
changed to 60, with extensions to
compulsory retirement at 65.
Along the way he has achieved
Working in his civilian role with
the oil and steel industries in South
Australia and the Northern Territory
for about 30 years, Maj Smith final-
ly found himself retrenched from
both careers. So he came to be in
Darwin in October 2001 in need of
something else to do.
Behind him was a noteworthy
ARes career in various roles before
being commissioned in November
1979 and becoming the first ARes
Liaison Officer for the Defence
Reserves Support Council in
Australia. From there, Maj Smith
raised the ARes Recruiting Unit in
Darwin and was then posted to 7
Trg Gp to conduct Officer Cadet
After being retrenched Maj
Smith took just two weeks to decide
to re-join the Army full-time, taking
on a 15-month stint as the Deputy
Director of Army Personnel Agency
Two years later Maj Smith was
OC Force Preparation Sqn Darwin
and, in 2004, 2IC of 1CSR with
300 soldiers. He then became OC
Australian Army Cadets in the
His current task as Norforce
Staff Officer Heritage is to shift
the Norforce Museum to Darwin
Military Museum East Point. It is to
undergo a multi-million dollar rede-
velopment by the NT Government.
In his private life, Maj Smith is
married to Helen, who is currently
President of NT Netball. To keep
them both busy (as if they were not
busy enough) they have eight grand-
children aged from three weeks to
20 years from their three daughters.
Maj Smith is a founding member
of Variety, the children's charity, in
the NT and coordinates a national
camp for children with special needs
each year. In 2010 he was awarded
an Order of Australia Medal for ser-
vices to Army cadets and Variety.
Still serving after
50 years in green
Cause to celebrate: Maj Trevor Smith and his wife, Helen, celebrate his 65th birthday and 50 years of
service at a dining-in function in Darwin.
Photo by AB James Whittle
SOLDIERS from 51FNQR celebrated
the 95th anniversary of the raising
of their battalion in the ORs mess at
Porton Barracks on March 1.
In acknowledging the achievements of
the battalion, CO 51FNQR Lt-Col Steven
Brain said the unit had a long history,
having been raised in 1916 in Egypt and
primarily made up of volunteers from a
unit that had fought at Gallipoli.
"The battalion then fought on the
Western Front in France in famous bat-
tles such as Pozieres, Polygon Wood and
Hamel," he said.
"On Anzac Day 1918 they fought a
counterattack at Villers Bretonneux, los-
ing 389 men over two days.
"During this action, Lt Clifford
Sadlier was awarded the VC and 39 other
decorations were awarded."
Having had many homes, including
WA, Tasmania and Sydney over the years,
the battalion finally came to rest in Cairns
In 1985, the 51st Independent Rifle
Company, The Royal Queensland
Regiment was reorganised to become a
Regional Force Surveillance Unit and was
renamed 51st Battalion, The Far North
The unit is now responsible for the
land surveillance of Cape York, the Gulf
Country, the Torres Strait, Cairns and
As well as a diverse area of respon-
sibility, the battalion also relies on the
Battalion with roots in
WWI celebrates 95 years
of service to Australia
diversity of its members. These members
come from many backgrounds and areas
of expertise, from miners in Weipa to
engineers in Mt Isa and farmers on the
The unit also has the highest per-
centage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islanders compared to any other unit in
"Our indigenous soldiers are highly
valued for their intimate knowledge of
their environment as they live and work
daily in the battalion's area of responsibil-
ity," Col Brain said.
"They bring to the unit unique skills
that cannot be learnt on a short-duration
Army course or in any manual."
Happy birthday: CO 51FNQR Lt-Col
Steven Brain and new recruit Pte Kate
Branville cut the cake at the unit's 95th
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