Support for the veteran community in North West Tasmania will soon be improved, with the Australian Government today announcing local veterans’ welfare group, the North West Tasmania Veteran Welfare Board, as the lead organisation to establish the new Burnie Veterans’ and Families’ Hub.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Matt Keogh said the new Hub will strengthen and expand support services to veterans and families in the North West of Tasmania.

“I am pleased to announce the business case put forward by the North West Tasmania Veteran Welfare Board has been successful, they will lead the development of the next Veterans’ and Families’ Hub in Burnie,” Minister Keogh said.

“The North West Tasmania Veteran Welfare Board is already delivering localised support as well as social and community building activities. The establishment of the new Hub will expand the support that veterans and families will benefit from for years to come.

“All veterans, current serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and families will be able to access a range of support services from the Hub, including for mental and physical health, advocacy, wellbeing support, employment and housing advice, as well as social connectedness.

“Burnie is the second region in Tasmania to receive funding through the Veterans’ and Families’ Hubs program, with RSL Launceston already benefiting from the program.”

This is in addition to the $5 million for the development of the broader “Tasmania Hub”, with both Burnie and Launceston forming spokes in the “hub and spoke” model, as well as providing their own outreach services, supporting veterans across the state. This is in line with the findings of a feasibility study conducted in 2020.”

The October 2022-23 Budget provided funding for eight new Veterans’ and Families’ Hubs and the continued development of hubs in Southeast Queensland and Tasmania.

“The Australian Government has announced a further $46.7 million in funding to develop more Veterans’ and Families’ Hubs across the country to support a better future for the veteran community,” Minister Keogh said.

“The additional hubs will more than double the size of the network, and will help the more than 581,000 people who are currently serving or who have served in the Australian Defence Force, and their families, receive the support they need, where they need it.”

Once in 50,000-year comet to be visible from Australia in February

By Liam McAneny

An ancient comet that hasn’t been visible from Earth for over 50,000 years will become visible in Australia from 2 February.

The comet was discovered by astronomers in southern California last year in March, who have named it C/2022 E3 (ZTF).

When the comet appears over Earth, it will appear as a bright green light in the night sky.

The bright green hue of the comet is caused by an envelope of dust and particles that form around the comet as it passes by the sun. The heat of the sun causes the icy outer layer of the comet to instantly turn into gas.

The vaporisation of this layer of dust and particles form the tail of the comet, a feature that makes the comets easily distinguishable from stars in the night sky.

Astronomers spotted the comet using a wide field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility in southern California.

The Zwicky Transient Facility is particularly adept at finding and identifying objects in the night sky due to its custom-built optics. The facility uses an extreme field-of-view mosaic CCD camera which utilises the entire focal plane of the P48 telescope at Palomar Observatory.

The camera can cover 47 square degrees of sky, meaning it provides the largest instantaneous field-of-view of any camera on a telescope of an aperture that is larger than half a metre.

The P48 telescope itself is a 48-inch aperture Samuel Oschin Telescope that operates in a robotically controlled observing mode.

While not visible in Australia until 2 February, the comet has already become visible to those in the Northern Hemisphere.

Professional and amateur astronomers have already been able to point their telescopes to the sky to witness the spectacle of the green comet, with some capturing stunning images of the comet.

The comet is estimated to be shining at a magnitude of around 11.00 in the night sky. Magnitude is a term used in astronomy to describe the brightness of an object, with a higher number meaning it is darker and a lower number meaning the object is brighter.

The green comet’s orbit takes it past the furthest reaches of the solar system. This orbit is the reason why the comet has taken around 50,000 years to pass by Earth again.

The last time that the comet passed Earth, Neanderthals roamed the Earth. While it would have been visible to them in the night skies, today’s technology allows us to get a much more detailed view of the comet.


The Tet Offensive

Photo: Australian soldiers of the 7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, wear American helmets and flak jackets as they stand guard outside the Hotel Canberra in Saigon during the Tet Offensive. The building was fortified and guarded because the Viet Cong specifically targeted urban establishments used by the Americans and their allies. [AWM P01539.001]

The Tet Offensive, launched in early 1968 by the Viet Cong, marked a significant escalation in the scale and the intensity of the Vietnam War. Although it was defeated in a strict military sense, the Tet Offensive shook the resolve of the Americans and their allies in Vietnam, and fuelled anti-war sentiment in America and the rest of the world.

In 1967 factions within the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese leadership began to call for a change of direction in the war’s conduct. General Vo Nguyen Giap, who had formerly advocated waging a largely guerrilla war, came to believe a “quick victory ” might now be possible. Planning therefore began for a major offensive in South Vietnam that would provoke a “general uprising. ” Against the corrupt and unpopular South Vietnamese Government. Abandoning conventional military wisdom, Viet Cong forces were not heavily concentrated for the offensive. The aim, instead, was to mount as many different attacks in as many locations as possible. And in a departure from traditional guerrilla tactics, the main targets were in population centres rather than the countryside.

The offensive, during which more than 100 towns and cities were attacked, began during the early hours of 31 January 1968. The first assaults achieved almost complete surprise, not least because they occurred over the Chinese New Year or Tet holiday period, which, according to recent tradition, was a time of truce. In many places the Viet Cong were astonishingly successful; in the former capital, Hue, they took control of a large part of the city. The most spectacular Viet Cong successes were, however, in the South Vietnamese capital Saigon, where a number of government buildings were attacked. An elite Viet Cong squad even managed to fight its way into the grounds of the American embassy.

Although most of the attacks were quickly defeated, in Hue and at the American provincial base at Khe Sahn Tet signalled the beginning of protracted battles. Yet there was no “general uprising ” in South Vietnam. The “quick victory ” had turned into a disastrous defeat and recriminations within the communist leadership soon followed. With the Viet Cong decimated, General Giap lost much of his authority, ultimately being retained merely in the figurehead role of Minister of Defence. Only much later would the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese realise what they had actually achieved.

The Tet Offensive shocked the Americans and their allies, especially because it occurred at a time when they thought they were winning the war. Graphic footage of fighting in Saigon and Hue was broadcast into American households and around the world. The bitterness and desperation conveyed in these images deeply affected many people – even those who had until then broadly supported American involvement in Vietnam. The initial Viet Cong successes, the ferocity of the fighting, and heavy American and South Vietnamese casualties ultimately left a far greater impression on worldwide public opinion than the offensive’s final defeat.

After the Tet Offensive American politicians and military leaders doubted whether a military victory would be possible, and began to think of other ways of ending the conflict. In this sense Tet marks the turning point in the Vietnam War. But perhaps the offensive’s most enduring significance lay in how widely it revealed the horrors of the Vietnam War, and indeed war in general.



Hi Ray,

I don’t know if you can post this photo for me, I’d like to find out if any of the other three blokes are still around. Unfortunately, I have not got their names.

If anyone can help me, would they please contact me, Shags Taylor, on phone number   07 3267 5259 or via email [email protected]

Thank you.

Tony (Shags) Taylor – 1734199

Ex 17th Construction Sqn  1969-70

The Old Man’s Tale

Opinion Piece

14th January 2023

The Old Man’s Tale

by Viv Forbes

The council man was adamant:
“The Law must have its way,
The shed you built is not approved
It must come down today.”

“No doubt the shed is safe and strong
And no one has complained,
But plans and rules must bind us all
Or anarchy will reign.”

The old man clenched his horny hands,
He gripped the planner’s arm,
Then changed his mind and led him out
To look around the farm.

“You see that shed” the old man said,
“With shingle roof and wattle wall,
With no advice from coots like you
My Grandpa built it all.”

“He came out here from Birmingham
With no help from the Crown,
Without a passport or a card
He sailed to Sydney town.”

“He got himself a riding horse
Bought cows and found a dray,
But sought no travel permits
As he left for Moreton Bay.”

“There were no maps to guide him
Once he left the city blocks,
And flooding of the Richmond
Cost him half his mob of stock.”

“But when he got to Moreton Bay
A sickness swept the place,
So Grandpa saddled up again
To see a safer base.”

“For weeks he struggled northwards
Thru the bush and hostile blacks,
Until he reached a mighty stream
Which stopped him in his tracks.”

“The soil was deep and fertile
And the flats were green and lush,
So Grandad thought he’d squat a while
He had no need to rush.”

“He cleared the scrub and dug a well
And found himself a wife,
He brought her to that wattle shed
To start their married life.”

“Then rangers tried to take his land
(For squatters rights were spurned.)
My folks were forced to sell their stock
To buy the land they’d earned.”

“My Pa was born in that old shed
He worked to earn his land
‘Twas he who built the homestead
And no planner lent a hand.”

“The sweat of generations
Feeds parasites like you,
And now you tell us builders:
‘This shed will never do.’

“With subtlety and cunning
You have nibbled at our rights,
You’ve taxed away our substance
So now we cannot fight.”

“But this is where I draw the line
And I won’t be alone,
So if you try to smash my shed
I’ll fight for what I own.”

“So clear off or I’ll clout you
Do not bother us again,
Take all your forms and files and fees
And shove them up the drain.”

The planner started shouting
But old Nigger bit his leg.
He cleared the fence, and yelled a threat:
“When next I come you’ll beg.”

The wreckers came next morning
But the neighbours got there first.
They stood six deep across the gate
And bid them do their worst.

Before the planners could react
Before the police could call
The old man’s son, a barrister,
Restrained them with the law.

He quoted laws and precedents,
He combed the ancient books,
He tied the council up for months
In writs and counter suits.

By then there were elections
And the old man led a team;
They sent the planners packing
And restored the builder’s dreams.

Once more a man could build a shed
Without a planner’s chit
And no one could invade his home
Unless he had a writ.

The planner got an honest job
The red tape was undone,
The Old Man got a Knighthood
His mighty fight was won.

Way back in 1975, Viv and Judy Forbes bought a bush block of 160 acres near Fernvale in Queensland.

With two small children, and no approvals, plans or tradesmen, they built their own pole house on this bush block. They cut ironbark poles with chainsaws, barked them with axes, dug postholes, erected them, and bought recycled corrugated iron, windows and doors, an old wood-burning stove and a kerosene fridge. Then they built a small stockyard and bail to milk their two cows.
They got hassled by the local council, but then discovered that the council had built a gravel road on their property, not where it should have been, within the road reservation. The hassles stopped. That house still stands.

Last men standing did one hell of a job

On 11 January 1973 Governor-General Sir Paul Hasluck issued a proclamation ending Australia’s military involvement in south Vietnam.

Australia’s combat forces had been withdrawn by the McMahon government in August 1972, all that remained was a logistics support unit at Vung Tau and a reduced Australian Army Training Team.

The first 30 members of “The Team” had originally deployed on August 3, 1962, reaching 217 members at its peak strength in November 1970.

It had been an eclectic mix of officers and senior NCO, from absolute professionals to misfits unsuited to regimental service who thrived in an operational environment.

Competition for AATTV postings was intense, seen as a form of military elitism, particularly by those whose expectations for further challenging appointments was probably limited.

CLICK LINK to continue reading …

Last men standing did one hell of a job | Australian Defence History, Policy and Veterans Issues (


Sadly, we have received reliable information that former RSM, Kevin Duncan Stockley passed away on 6 Jan 2023 followed by his wife within 24 hours.

Due to the circumstances, the family are holding a private funeral at 2.30pm Friday 20 Jan 23 at White Lady Funerals, 210 Kelvin Grove Road, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane – however the family has extended an invitation to those who served with Kevin to attend.

Please join with us in offering our deepest sympathy to those who will mourn the passing of a loved one.  Another 6 RAR family member, taken too soon.


Allan Whelan, Secretary

VALE: 1411309 GREGORY (GREG) REGINALD HANSEN, 7, 1, 2, 8, 8/9, 2/4 & 6 RAR

Sadly, we have received confirmation via numerous sources that GREG HANSEN passed away in the early hours of 12 Jan 23.

As you can see from the heading, Greg served in many RAR Battalions including 6 RAR as the Battalion 2IC in the late 90’s or early 2000’s.

The funeral will be at the Mt Thompson Crematorium, 329 Nursery Rd, Holland Park QLD ((07) 3349 2001), at 2pm 20th of January 2023.

Medals to be worn.

Please join with us in offering our deepest sympathy to those who will mourn the passing of a loved one.  Another 6 RAR family member, taken too soon.


Allan Whelan, Secretary