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9 TPT SQN
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Where: Tom's Tavern, Townsville
When: Saturday 8th September
Time: 1730 h
9 TPT SQN is holding a reunion in
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For more details please visit the
All past and present members welcome!
Army August 2, 2012
THE government is calling for
submissions to an inquiry into the
care of ADF personnel wounded or
injured on operations.
The inquiry committee will
examine the handling of wounded
and sick personnel in operational
areas and on return to Australia,
along with return-to-work arrange-
ments for those who have recovered.
Management of those who can't
return to ADF service will also be
examined, including the process for
deeming someone medically unfit,
the transition from ADF health care
to Department of Veterans' Affairs
health services and ongoing support.
Personal details can be removed
from published submissions at the
Although grateful for all submis-
sions, the inquiry can't assist with
individual personnel issues.
Email submissions to jscfadt@
aph.gov.au before August 10.
For more details go to www.aph.gov.au/
Have a say on care for wounded troops
Cpl Mark Doran
FOLKLORE can mislead for years
until the truth is finally told.
The truth of one such legendary
tale came to light when a retired Army
officer and his classmate visited his old
"room within a room" at Duntroon on
No longer a secret, the unusual stor-
age area built under the bed in Room
92 is known as the Cork Block Cavern
and was constructed by a group of staff
cadets in 1958 as a place to hide their
Number 13s are usually dirty equip-
ment or items of contraband which need
to be hidden from prying eyes during
The true instigator of the plan, Col
Ross Thomas (retd) was living in the
room at the time and said there were
just over a dozen staff cadets involved
in the scheme.
"All we had were entrenching tools
and bayonets to dig through the hard
soil," he said.
"The dirt was removed in kit bags,
up through the trapdoor, out the window
and across the road where we would
just tip it under the tree.
"It seemed like a good idea at the
time and how we weren't discovered I
am buggered if I know -- I really don't."
Most of the staff cadets' clandestine
activities, including the removal of a
support pillar, were performed between
lights out and reveille or on weekends.
Concrete was borrowed to seal the
cavern floor along with an elaborate
electric switchboard and alarm system,
which was rigged to a master switch
under the desk to turn off the lights and
warn occupants below to be quiet.
The room was not discovered until
the next year when during a police rob-
bery investigation it was mentioned Mr
Ross had been in the building on the
day in question.
Mr Ross had transferred to another
building after a long stay in hospital
and said although he had been visiting
the room at the time in question, he was
not going to be involved with a stealing
"So I told the authorities about the
room," he said.
"The adjutant at the time, Capt
'Blue' Hodgkinson said 'I hope for your
sake lad there is a hole there' and the
local copper wanted to know if the hole
was big enough to hide some money in.
"I said 'Sir, you're not going to be
Peter Anderson was also a staff cadet
involved in the construction of the room
and said they had luxuries such as bor-
rowed curtains, mattresses and blankets
and brew-making equipment.
"The whole thing was a challenge.
There were many ingenuous Number
13s in the ceilings and under mattresses
at Duntroon," he said.
"Most people knew about the room
and junior staff cadets were invited to
assist with the labour from time to time.
"I think the room added to the cama-
raderie of the class."
After the inspection the electrical
wiring was removed and the missing
pillar was replaced, but surprisingly
nothing further was ever said about
Perhaps this silence was acknowl-
edgment of the staff cadets' initiative
Room 92 along with the "room with-
in a room" is now preserved as one of
the Duntroon wonders.
on the room
Duntroon gets visit from secret room officer
Back in time: Ross Thomas (left) and Peter Anderson reminisce in the room within a room, which they
helped build at Duntroon in 1958. Inset, Mr Thomas exits the room during his time at the college.
Photos by Cpl Mark Doran
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