Home' Army News : October 11th 2012 Contents EXPLORE THE
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was in his first
year as an Army
R in Darwin, when
reports on bomb-
in Bali early
tober 13, 2002.
He was wonder-
ng what the Army
would do in the
wake of the
incidents and it
wasn't long after
that he got the
call to help.
"About 6 or
7pm I got the call
from AHQ ask-
Bali and telling
t," Mr Swinbourn,
now a team
Whitley and I got
jumped on an air-
edical team, 200
rk in the triage
then 43, com-
e injured and
supported families of those deceased,
lost or hurt.
"We were seen as safe people to
talk to and so we spoke with families
and people injured and listened to
their worries and grieving. We prayed
with them and for them and tried to
show people that there was hope in
the future," Mr Swinbourn explains.
Eighty-eight of those killed and
many of the injured were Australians.
Australians holidaying in Bali at the
time helped out, along with the fami-
lies and friends of those injured.
In 21 hours, 66 patients had been
evacuated to Darwin before four Air
Force flights moved people on from
Darwin to other capital cities.
"We helped carry patients on
stretchers onto aircraft as well -- both
physical and spiritual work," Mr
"We stayed at the airport until the
last person had been loaded onto air-
craft. Then the real work began in the
aftermath of the tragedy. We spent
a lot of time at the morgue with the
deceased and their families who were
trying to identify remains that had
been brought in. It was a pretty crook
"Each morning we would go to
the consular briefings conducted for
families and then we'd go with those
families to the morgue and then we'd
work with them and the DFAT psy-
chological support teams -- it became
a routine in trying to support these
families each day."
On Wednesday, more psycholo-
gists and chaplains flew in to sup-
port those personnel already on the
ground and the grieving relatives
trying to make sense of what had
On Thursday, October 15, 2002,
the first memorial service was held
"Two other chaplains had arrived
by then and between the four of us
we managed to conduct the service.
It was a very emotional event," Mr
After six of the hardest days
of Mr Swinbourn's life he flew
home on the Saturday, exhausted
emotionally and physically. In
2003, Mr Swinbourn was awarded a
Conspicuous Service Medal for his
work with Op Bali Assist.
"Bali was one of the most signifi-
cant events that shaped my time as a
member of the ADF. The effects have
been long lasting, costly and diffi-
cult," Mr Swinbourn says.
"My Army training and the experi-
ences I had as a parish minister for
the 10 years prior was a great help. I
had been involved with motor vehicle
accidents in the past but nothing can
prepare people for such shattering
Mr Swinbourn went on to com-
plete other deployments, which he
enjoyed, but due to the lasting effects
of what he witnessed in Bali, he is
now supporting personnel in a civil-
He keeps in regular contact with
a fellow chaplain he worked with a
decade ago and it is something the
pair confide in each other about.
"I don't attend memorial services
but I take careful note of the day each
year," he says.
While it was a difficult time, he
was heartened by the kindness people
showed to each other in a tumultuous
"Those in Bali were exposed to
the evil people inflict against each
other but then also the kindness and
generosity when things are so crook.
The kindness of folk to each other
despite their own personal losses
built strong bonds of friendship."
Army October 11, 20122
leader in prog
"Chap Ian W
a briefing and j
craft with a me
We arrived in t
light on the M
and got to wor
centre that had
As a chap
Those in Bali
to the evil
then also such
when things are
-- Haydn Swinbourn, Op
Bali Assist chaplain
Photo by Cpl
Bali bombings left scars on those giving support when it's most needed, Aurora Daniels reports.
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