Radschool Association Magazine - Vol 41

Page 8

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Camp Gregory.


Back in Vol37 we had a story on Camp Gregory and Roger Dwyer, an Army Vet who was in Vietnam from December 1968 to March 1970. Roger and wife Deborah bought the 40 acre Camp Gregory property (which is up near Bundaberg) 22 years ago and in September 2009 finished turning it into an idyllic retreat for Vietnam veterans and their families to use free of charge. But – in so doing, he fell foul of the ever-vigilant Beattie/Bligh Queensland Government.Dispute area


Roger “dared” put some rock and sand onto the lovely mud on a 5 metre section of the river bank so people could launch their boats without sinking knee deep and becoming bogged.  Some of the blokes who take advantage of Roger’s extreme generosity are wheel-chair bound, having lost limbs in Vietnam and silly old Roger thought the change would make getting down to the water easier for them. This was a terrible thing to do as it completely upset some poor little crabs and worms and other beings that up till then had lived quite contentedly in the mud without a care in the world.


Ms Bligh and her team were understandably enraged at the audacity of Mr Dwyer in disturbing those poor little critters and had the Department of Primary Industry, under the lead of the super-efficient Deryk Smith, take Roger to Court where he faced a possible fine of up to $300,000.


Dispute area


The photos above show the huge section of the river bank permanently destroyed by Roger and it is quite easy to see why Ms Bligh and her DPI people were determined to punish him severely for his sins.

Rob Messenger

Luckily for Roger, and all the Vietnam Vets who would later use the facility, Independent MP for Burnet (at the time) Rob Messenger got wind of this stupidity and brought it up in state Parliament.


He later said:  “This is a disgrace, I want an independent investigation into why Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries inspectors are harassing and prosecuting yet another of our loyal boys who risked their lives and fought for our precious freedom and liberties. How can this little rock fill that makes life more bearable for men who fought in Vietnam possibly lead to Roger being summonsed to Bundaberg Magistrates Court to face a conviction and a huge and unjust $300,000 fine?”


Rob Messenger called on Premier Anna Bligh to step in and stop what he described as “an idiotic and dangerous persecution of a decent man who is just trying to do the right thing by other Vietnam vets”.  He said “I am dealing with a number of people in the Burnett who are facing those fines at the moment. There is a lady, a widow, whose husband tragically killed himself during a similar court case late last year in Bundaberg, again over a fine of $300,00Anna Bligh0 under this fish protection legislation.”


Ms Bligh responded to Rob saying that “in terms of offences, the legislation has been drafted in comparison to other similar legislation for boards dealing with matters of a similar nature ... not every offence is comparable, but I think the drafters do a pretty good job of ensuring some level of consistency.”  What compassion!!


Roger also found support from the local Butchulla tribe. Elder Marie Wilkinson, 77, wrote to the court on his behalf. She said:  “I wish to advise that this proposed prosecution of Roger Dwyer is one of the worst cases of injustice I have been associated with in the last 30 years since I have publicly been involved with ‘looking after country' in this region, namely Butchulla and Gurang Gurang, which I am a Traditional Owner by Elder.” She wrote. “I have personally visited this Vietnam vets' retreat/campsite and the only access from boat to site is up this small narrow bank. It is a gross exaggeration that any detrimental work was conducted by Mr Dwyer, and in actual fact, the opposite occurred by stopping erosion to the alluvial bank. I sat in at the 1 NovemberMarie Wilkinson 2010 meeting with Mr and Mrs Dwyer and DPI investigative officer Deryk Smith to assist with mediation and resolve this issue prior to summons and believe this matter has been handled very poorly.”


Roger eventually faced the Court in Bundaberg, was convicted and fined $1,500 – an absolute disgrace. Since then, the state Labor government has been dumped, the LNP were given the reins and Roger has been told the new Government will quash the conviction and his $1,500 would be returned. It now remains to be seen whether or not that was a core promise.


Rob Messenger has a very good explanatory video on his web site, you can see it HERE.


Roger has licked his wounds, got on with it and the camp is now open and welcoming vets who are on the road and who want a nice shady spot to pull in, put the feet up and chat with people who have shared the same experiences - and the disgraceful destruction of river bank remains destructed.


Entrance to Camp Gregory


Entrance road - Camp Gregory


The front gate and all weather road into the retreat, you are most welcome.


Camping area


Camping area


Top, part of the camping area and below, some blokes setting up for a leisurely stay.



The dining area being constructed adjacent to the camping area, this is now finished and can be used as and when required.


If you’re a vet and you’re on the road, you are more than welcome to use the facilities at Camp Gregory. To get there you travel north on the Bruce Highway from Brisbane and just before you get to Childers (310 kms north of Brisbane) take the (right) turn to Woodgate. The property is about a 30 mins drive down the Woodgate Rd and only 10 mins from Woodgate. It’s address is 168 Darville Rd, Woodgate.


There are sites suitable for caravans, tents, motor homes, or just swags – the max stay is 2 weeks and there is a long-drop toilet.


A few people have got in touch with us since our earlier story and wanted to know if they could contribute some funds to help Roger with his fine and expenses, we put that to Roger who was reluctant at first but, under advice, has given us the following bank information. If you wish to help, the BSB: is 084 802,    Account No:  1456-58022,   Title:  Camp Gregory Future Fund.


If you wish to contact Roger, his phone number is 07 4129 4030 – remember, you are more than welcome.



I’m jealous of my parents – I’ll never have a kid as cool as theirs.





Unfortunately, Governments, whether Federal, State or Municipal, are very slow and/or reluctant in making funds available for facilities to make life easier for returned service men and women. These men and women, in a lot of cases suffering severe physical and mental injuries, were just ‘dumped’ and forgotten when they returned from Vietnam. When their marble came up, most of them were pulled off the street while still in their teens, they were stuck in uniform, trained then sent overseas for 12 months. When they returned to Australia, their two year engagement would have been nearly up, they were discharged only to find their civvy jobs were no longer there, they were forgotten and expected to get on with it.


A lot couldn’t – and still can’t!


But if you’re an illegal boaty there is a bucket load of Government money available for you. Greens leader Sarah Hanson-Young was recently driven to tears as she outlined the poor boaties’ plight.


At least we know where her sympathies lie - Makes you sick!!



Last upgraded armoured carrier handed over.


25 October 2012


ONE of defence's longest equipment projects has concluded with Army handed the keys to the last of 431 upgraded M-113 armoured personnel carriers. In a ceremony at Bandiana, Victoria, BAE Systems land division head Kim Scott gave the keys for the vehicle to Major General Grant Cavenagh.



Under the decade-long project worth $600 million, 431 of the Vietnam-era troop carriers were upgraded to improve their firepower, protection and mobility.


M-113s were first used by the US military in 1962 and more than 80,000 have been built since, making it one of the world's most widely used armoured vehicles. Australia acquired its M-113s in the 1960s and many were used in Vietnam. By the 1990s, Australia's M-113s were in need of modernisation and the process began in 1992.


But what started out as a modest upgrade eventually morphed into a protracted and troubled makeover as the vehicles were lengthened and fitted with new engine, suspension and transmission systems, turrets and guns, improved armour and even a cooled drinking water system. (One wonders why not a new vehicle??)


The contract began in 2002 and the first upgraded vehicles was handed over to the army in 2007. "It has been an enormously challenging project, but one that has resulted in the final vehicle being completed well ahead of the contracted December 2012 deadline."


More info HERE.


A nun living in a convent next to a construction site noticed the coarse language of the workers and decided to spend some time with them to correct their ways. She decided she would take her lunch, sit with the workers and talk with them. She put her sandwich in a brown bag and walked over to the spot where the men were eating.

She walked up to the group and with a big smile asked, "Do you men know Jesus Christ?"  They shook their heads and looked at each other. One of the workers looked up into the steelwork and yelled, "Anybody up there know Jesus Christ?"

One of the steelworkers asked why?  The worker yelled, "His wife is here with his lunch."


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