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Army October 24, 2013
Row to health
Wounded, injured and ill soldiers are rowing to recovery
Sgt Dave Morley
FROM their first days in the ADF
members learn to "never volunteer for
But Graeme Hickingbotham, Gallipoli
Program Manager for Conservation
Volunteers, reckons it's now time to make
He's looking for volunteer guides to
assist at Gallipoli for Anzac Day 2014.
Conservation Volunteers, under
the supervision of the Department of
Veterans' Affairs, recruits and manages a
group of 30 volunteers each year to form
the Gallipoli volunteer team.
The volunteers are involved in wel-
coming and registering visitors to the
commemorative services, assisting in the
transition between services and generally
caring for the wellbeing of visitors.
Mr Hickingbotham said Anzac Day at
Gallipoli was unique and memorable.
"Three commemorative services take
place -- the Dawn Service, combined
Australia and New Zealand, Lone Pine
Service for Australia, and Chunuk Bair
Service for New Zealand," he said.
"The Gallipoli Volunteer Program also
includes extensive battlefield interpreta-
tions across the Gallipoli peninsula, a
crossing of the Dardanelles, a cruise on
the Aegean Sea and time in Istanbul."
Lt Cristy Ellem, a nursing officer at
2GHB, took part in the program in 2013.
She said a highlight of the trip for her
was walking the Rhododendron Ridge.
"It enabled us to see the land the way
the soldiers would have so many years ago
and yet again, all too depressing, to see
the formidable landscape in which they
were fighting," she said.
"The purpose was to assist the
Department of Veterans' Affairs in the
running of the Anzac Day service.
"This involved a 31-hour shift assist-
ing in bus registration, arm-banding visi-
tors, providing information kits and ongo-
ing assistance to the elderly or those with
medical conditions, a key role for nurses.
"The variety of work and eagerness of
the visitors made the hours go quickly and
it was encouraging to see so many young
Australians travel so far to be part of the
Lt Ellem said Conservation Volunteers
was a fantastic organisation that coordi-
nated various programs within Australia
and New Zealand.
"The program put together for the
Gallipoli volunteers was enriching, inspir-
ing and very rewarding," she said.
"I believe it would be difficult to gain
such a comprehensive understanding and
appreciation for the area without the input
from our guide and companions.
"Anzac Day 2013 for me was an amaz-
ing experience that has given me a greater
appreciation not only of the conflict at
Gallipoli, but the history of the Nursing
Corps and the hardship nurses faced in
Cost to participants is about $5880 and
applications close on November 15.
To obtain more information and to make an
application for the Gallipoli Volunteer Program
go to www.gallipolivolunteer.org.au
Helping hand: ADF members are encouraged to apply to be a Conservation
Volunteer in Gallipoli.
Making Anzac Day
special in Gallipoli
TWELVE Townsville-based sol-
diers took to the water as part of
3 Bde's Soldier Recovery Centre-
sponsored Learn to Row course.
The training consisted of three
sessions a week over three weeks,
finishing in September, with sol-
diers starting in quad sculls and
graduating to singles.
The course was supported by
the local Riverway Rowing Club,
which provided various boats and
Course coach Stephen
Muhlenberg said many of the par-
ticipants in the pilot course were
reluctant to try the sport but after
a couple of sessions on the water
gained enough confidence to enjoy
the mental and physical workout.
"It's the quickest I have seen
adults pick up rowing," he said.
"I am amazed at their natural
ability as well as their determination
and willingness to learn."
Sgt McQuilty Quirke, of 1RAR,
said some soldiers weren't keen on
the idea but quickly got into it.
"There are guys that refused to
get in the boats on the first day and
they are now out in single sculls
rowing up and down the river like
they have been doing it for 10
years," he said.
Sgt Quirke was also quick to
recognise the mental benefits of
Determination: Cpl Robert Dean, of 1RAR, enjoys a day on the
water as part of the Soldier Recovery Centre's Learn to Row course.
"Coming down here just gives
you something else to focus on; it
just clears your mind," he said.
Plans are under way to run more
courses in Townsville next year.
The 7 Bde SRC is planning
to run a similar introduction to
rowing program this year and it is
expected other regions may look to
adopt similar programs for soldiers
looking to get involved in local
community rowing programs.
Defence Rowing Association
patron Brig Alison Creagh invited
Learn to Row participants to attend
a training camp in Canberra in early
December in preparation for the
Australian Master's Championships
in May next year.
More information on the Defence Rowing
Association can be found on the DRN at
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