ADVENTURE TRAINING 8/9 RAR By Percy Angilley 8/9 RAR
At the end of 1978 the whole battalion was doing their specialised courses as normal. Having just marched in, I missed out on all the courses so the battalion had organised a five-day adventure training for everyone who was not doing courses at the end of the year. We went over to North Stradbroke Island.
The Navy gave us a lift on a barge and we took a couple of trucks and Land Rovers over with us. One of the trucks was full with beer as normal. Everyone got the trucks unloaded, the kitchen and our Taj Mahal (hutchies) were set up and then we went for a swim.
The next several days were our time, with the only condition being that someone knew where you were going or what you were doing. The first place we went was the Point Lookout Surf Life Saving Club for beers. As soon as a group of us walked in we were warned that there were no takeaways and four beers per man perhaps was it. This didn’t bother us because we had a mountain of beer back at camp.
I forgot to tell you that this was during the beer strike in Queensland.
The next day a truckload of us went driving for a swim at Blue Lake National Park and then on the way home we stopped at the Dunwich Pub for a beer. Well, at least that was our intention until the patron refused to serve us due to the beer shortage – beer for the locals only. Once again we told him where he could put it and said we’d go home and drink our own. On hearing this comment the patron had a chat with one of the SNCOs and at the end of the week we sold him all our remaining beer that we hadn’t drunk.
Anyhow, to justify this week in paradise we had to do a survival course – a whole four hours. Each group of three to five was given a couple of fishhooks, a length of fishing line and off we went. One group caught a mouse – skinned and tanned the hide and put the body on a spigot and cooked it. Another group caught some fish which were amazingly filleted like the ones at the local fish shop. Another group turned up with a collection of different types of fruit and vegetables – amazing that they looked like the ones from the backyard of one of the local residents. Browny, Nearay and I came across a goanna in the sand dunes and treed it. Alan Norcott turned as DS and gave me his knife to kill it. Well, at least that was the intention. I climbed up the pencil pine with the knife strapped to a stick after the goanna and the other boys were on the ground with logs ready to clobber it. I gave it a couple of good jabs and then it decided to get out of the tree, of course straight over the top of me and down the tree. Well, the boys were laughing at me freaking out and then I was laughing at them doing their dance as they tried to beat this lizard into the sand. We took it back and someone cooked it up on hot coals and several different people sampled the survival champion’s prize.