Blue McLean stood down as President in 2000 and Bob (Yogi) Pearson (LM) was elected as President, again still with Yogi Upton as Secretary. Yogi 1 and Yogi 2 (we never did confirm which one was which) continued to maintain the traditions of the Association and to improve on the activities and the responsibilities of the Association until 2002 when Yogi Upton unfortunately, suddenly died.
Alan Price (LM) was then elected Secretary with Yogi Pearson still President and in 2003 the annual birthday service was moved from RSL clubs to the RARNMW where the service is held annually on the Saturday closest to the 1st of February, the Battalion’s birthday. Each year Alan addresses a certain aspect of the history of 4 RAR as the theme for the service. The commemorative service was then followed by a family BBQ at the 6 RAR Long Tan Sergeants’ Mess. The option to attend the 6 RAR Sergeants’ Mess was changed in 2010 when the concept of unit messes was changed to one mess that accommodated members of all ranks and units within the Gallipoli Barracks. Subsequent birthday celebrations were then conducted as a family BBQ amongst the trees of the Diggers Rest area of the RAR NMW. Tap dancing was not a military skill that we had to learn but a basic knowledge did come in handy.
Prior to the commemorative service, Australian flags are placed at the base of the individual bronze plaques naming and commemorating those who died overseas in the service of 4 RAR and during the service those in attendance place flowers of remembrance beside the plaques.
The 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment Association, Queensland (4 RAR Assoc, Qld) was first formerly established at a meeting of former serving members of 4 RAR at Kelvin Grove Barracks, Brisbane in 1985. Prior to this but commencing in 1974, Bluey Fryer organised former members to gather as near as possible to 01 February each year to celebrate the Battalion’s birthday and to maintain the brotherhood of warriors. At the Adelaide reunion in 1985, Brigadier the Honourable, David Thompson MC, the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army, RSM (A) Wally Thompson OAM and other former serving members suggested the forming of an association. In 1985, Queensland formalized an association and Alan Price was elected President and a short time later Maureen Price was appointed Secretary. This association initially encompassed members Australia wide.
Alan and Maureen then set about to establish two major functions per year; the traditional birthday get-together and a mixed dinner dance around September each year. Birthday functions during this time were conducted at various RSL clubs. The first dinner dance was conducted at Canungra in 1985 with the assistance of John (Toad) Dunshea OAM who was then the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of the Land Warfare Centre (LWC) at Canungra. The initial dinner dance was a huge success and it was resolved to hold them annually at Canungra. The maintenance of messing and other responsibilities being passed to civilian contractors meant that for the past few years the dinner has been held at the 6 RAR Long Tan Sergeants’ Mess. 2008 saw the realization that costings imposed by the civilian contractors made conducting the dinner at army establishments far too costly an exercise and as a result the 2008 and subsequent dinners were conducted at the Gaythorne RSL Club.
In 1987 Noel (Horror) Huish OAM (LM) was elected President and Max (Yogi) Upton (LM) was elected Secretary. They continued the annual functions and in 1994 were responsible for the highly successful Brisbane national reunion.
In February 1996, Yogi Upton and Allan (Blue) McLean (LM) organised our members to travel from Brisbane to attend the Battalion’s birthday parade at Holsworthy. It was at that parade that the Qld Association commenced the tradition of the former members forming up in two lines on the inner edge of the parade ground and applauding the soldiers as they marched off. Blue and Yogi along with the members continued their close support of the battalion. Two former 4RAR members, Don Zerner and Alan Price were very nearly posted into the Battalion in 1995; Don as Battalion 2IC and Alan as CSM but alas it did not happen.
Noel Huish stood down as President in 1996 and Allan (Blue) McLean took over the reins, still with Yogi Upton as Secretary.
Blue and Yogi then successfully gained permission from the Royal Australian Regiment National Memorial Walk (RARNMW) Committee to install a bronze plaque in the forecourt of the contemplation building at Enoggera to commemorate the New Zealand warriors of V and W Companies who served with us in South Vietnam but who unfortunately were killed in action.
The 4 RAR Association, Qld Inc includes members residing in Tasmania, Northern Territory and overseas. Those former members of the Battalion, e.g. 4 RAR, 4 RAR/NZ (ANZAC), 4 RAR (Cdo) and 2/4 RAR and those of other arms, services and corps with accepted close ties to 4 RAR are invited to join.
Members receive free copies of The Fighting Fourth newsletter and invitations to all commemorative and social events.
WA, NSW, SA and Vic now have their own state associations and the Qld Association has continued to be responsible for members in all other states and overseas. The Qld Association continues to maintain the National and International nominal roll.
The 4 RAR Assoc, Qld Inc publishes and distributes the national newsletter entitled “The Fighting Fourth’ which is issued in April, August and December each year free to all financial members Australia wide and overseas. Contributions on any subject relating to 4RAR and service life are invited for publication.
Our membership is aimed at former members of 4 RAR and 4 RAR (Cdo), and because 2/4 RAR do not have an association in Qld, we extend an invitation to those former members of 2/4 RAR to join with us. We also extend invitations for family members and descendents of 4 RAR and 2/4 RAR warriors to join us in their own right as Associate Members.
An invitation is also extended to those who served in other units, corps and services with accepted close ties to 4 RAR.
Members of the committee all have dedicated responsibilities but are assisted by all others on the committee and Association members as and when required.
The Association maintained very close ties with 4 RAR (Cdo) and Association members attended their birthday parade and other events annually until the Battalion was reorganised and became the 2nd Commando Regiment (2 Cdo Regt) in June 2009.
The Association also maintains close ties with the Royal Australian Regiment Association (Queensland Division) Inc and attends all their full committee meetings and functions and represents the 4 RAR Association, Qld members.
In 2004 the Association changed the style of its annual dinner and renamed it The Nui Le Dinner in honour of the last major battle of 4 RAR in South Viet Nam and which was also the last major battle fought by Australians in South Viet Nam. At the battle of Nui Le, D Coy 4 RAR successfully defeated the 33rd Regiment of the North Vietnamese Army and caused them to leave the battlefield and in turn, Phouc Tuy Province. Operation IVANHOE during which the battle took place, involved the whole battalion and especially B Coy and Victor Company who also confronted the 33rd Regiment.
In September 2006, Bob Pearson, because of failing health, stood down as President and Alan Price was elected President, Don Zerner was elected Vice President, Ross McGregor was elected Secretary and Noel Fairley was elected Treasurer. Bob maintained his position on the committee as did Noel Kelly and Derek Firth.
The Qld Association initiated Project COMMANDO whereby students from Helensvale State School and Algester State School in Queensland, corresponded with members of 4 RAR (Cdo) serving overseas. The children maintain their letter writing with the newly formed 2 Cdo Regt. The photo at left shows Alan Price and then Vice President, Noel Kelly talking to some of the students at Helensvale State School asking them to write letters.
Committee members attend and speak at various schools during school ANZAC Day services. The executive committee also attends the ANZAC day services at other schools in the Brisbane area including Michelton High School where Vic Petersen KIA, was an old boy.
Mrs Trish Hansen, a lady residing in Canungra, with no former alliance with 4 RAR at all, sent ANZAC biscuits and Christmas cakes to members of 4 RAR (Cdo) serving overseas.
On the 4th of February 2008, immediately following the National Reunion in Melbourne, the 4 RAR Assoc, Qld Inc was responsible, on behalf of all state 4 RAR Associations, for the dedication and laying of a commemorative plaque in the western grounds of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, in remembrance of all those who have served in 4 RAR and all those who have subsequently died.
Early in 2008 Ross MacGregor resigned as the Association secretary due to failing health and then Bob (Yogi) Pearson resigned his tenure as Immediate Past President for the same reason. Bob had diligently served the Association for eight years. Noel Kelly was then appointed as Secretary.
Due to the rising incidents of illnesses and hospitalisation among Association members the committee installed a welfare team comprised of Derek Firth as the Welfare Officer and Joe Dvoracsek and Greg Shannon as Hospital Visiting Officers. In 2011, Greg Shannon stood down due to other volunteer activities. Alan was also successful in gaining the highly qualified and experienced Bill Temple OAM, a 7 RAR veteran, as the Association’s Pensions Officer and Advocate. Unfortunately Bill passed away in January 2010 but another respected advocate Graham Ross, took his place.
In September 2009 the 4 RAR Assoc Qld Inc, developed a national website for the benefit of all state 4 RAR associations and their members.
The web site address is www.4rarassociationsaustralia.com
The site was designed and is updated on a regular basis by a former D Company forward scout in South Vietnam. The 4 RAR Association, Qld, Inc edits and maintains the site with the voluntary assistance of this former 4 RAR warrior.
On 19 June 2009, 4 RAR (Cdo) was deactivated and all personnel were posted to the newly raised 2nd Commando Regiment (2 Cdo Regt). 4 RAR still remains a battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment on the Order of Battle but without personnel and equipment. During the battalion tenure as the commando battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment it wore the distinctive Commando Green beret with the badge of the Royal Australian Regiment and the Commando Green parachute wings. They operated however, as a Special Forces unit under Special Forces operational command and in Afghanistan in 2006, the Battalion was awarded the Unit Citation for Gallantry (UCG). The 4 RAR Colours with the streamer of the Unit Citation for Gallantry attached are held in trust by the School of Infantry at Singleton NSW until 4 RAR is reactivated.
The Association continues to grow in membership and in accordance with the decision at the raising of the Association in 1985, did not charge membership fees; quoting the maxim that those who served or who are serving in 4 RAR have already paid their dues by serving both the Battalion and Australia. That ideal continued for 24 years until the Annual General Meeting of 2009 resolved unanimously to regrettably commence to charge fees but until then, operating and administrative finances were largely gained from raffles, donations and personal contributions from incumbent committee members.
Potential members and those already on the national roll are requested to formally apply for membership so that we have all, pertinent details and so that the hand of friendship, may be extended. Membership renewals are now payable on 01 July annually.
Since 2008 the Qld Association has officially supported the efforts of Bob Meehan OAM, a former 4 RAR member now the honorary curator of the privately owned Gold Coast War Museum at Springbrook, Qld. Prior to 2008, individual former service members assisted Bob in an unofficial capacity but now the Qld Association sponsors the RAR and 4 RAR displays and association members assist in gaining historical items and establishing and improving displays as well as providing volunteer tour guides for visiting schools and other group attendances. The 4 RAR, RAR and other selected displays referred to as the “4 RAR Annex” are and will remain, the property of, the 4 RAR Association Qld and are a separate entity within the Gold Coast War Museum.
In December 2009 the Qld Association instigated the subsequent delivery of approximately 4,000 Christmas parcels to all soldiers serving overseas. It is intended to continue this venture with parcels being sent to 2 Cdo Regt soldiers from time to time during the year.
In 2010 it was resolved to conduct an annual luncheon for our ladies that would include all ladies and their lady guests at a minimal cost. Our widows shall be guests of the association at these functions. The ladies have dictated that no males are to be invited to the luncheon. For fear of retribution we have acceded to that request. The first Ladies Luncheon was conducted at the TAFE College of Hospitality at Southbank in Brisbane and the ladies elected to have the luncheon there again in 2011. The 2011 luncheon again proved to be a success and to repay Bunnings for their support of the 4 RAR Reunion 2011, five ladies from Bunnings were invited. A guest speaker was also provided.
In 2010, it was decided that the Qld Association required a dedicated team to maintain the National Nominal Roll, to respond to membership applications and acceptances and to maintain the recording, amending and retrieval of the roll. Laurie Case and Peter Horn gratefully accepted the task. Peter Horn unfortunately died only a few months later in November 2010.
Again in 2010 the 4 RAR Association, Qld publically instituted and supported a recommendation that charges of murder or manslaughter against three 1 Cdo Regt soldiers attached to 4 RAR (Cdo) at the time for an incident in Afghanistan, be dropped. “Remember the Breaker”! As of July 2011 two of the soldiers have had all charges against them withdrawn and dismissed.
The Qld Association was responsible for the organising and conduct of the highly successful national reunion held on the Gold Coast in 2011.
At the Annual General Meeting of February 2011, held over from September 2010, Clive Clewley replaced Noel Kelly as Vice President, Bob Woodbury replaced Don Zerner as Secretary and Jerry Dykyj replaced Noel Fairley as Treasurer. The later in all cases, stood down due to health and family responsibilities. In August 2011, Bob Woodbury stepped down as secretary to become the Administrative Officer and Mike O’Neill stepped up as Secretary.
At the Annual General Meeting of September 2011 it was resolved that the Association become incorporated. Due to some previous groundwork our Certificate of Incorporation was signed on 23 September 2011 by the Office of Fair Trading, Queensland and the Association became known as the 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment Association, Queensland Incorporated (4 RAR Assoc, Qld Inc).
At the AGM, the existing management committee was re-elected unopposed and Jaye Clewley was installed as the representative for our associate members. In February 2012, Allan Ploenges volunteered his services and was appointed as the assistant membership officer to Laurie Case. Unfortunately, due to sudden illness, Alan was compelled to stand down almost immediately.
The ANZAC Day activities continued in 2012 but were hampered by the illnesses of so many committee members. Our two schools were visited and our presence was again welcomed quite movingly by the staff and pupils. We managed to keep alive the ANZAC Day affiliation with members of the RAA and we received a rather large donation from them as part of their two up proceedings.
The Ladies Luncheon continues to be a good innovation and a guest speaker, the presence of four ladies from Bunnings and the raffle proved a great success. We still need a name for the ladies group.
It was intended that the committee travel to Townsville immediately after ANZAC Day but illnesses and hospitalization amongst the committee forced a postponement. We hope to visit Townsville early in 2013 and other areas later in the year.
The Annual General Meeting conducted on 21 September 2012 resulted in some minor changes to the committee. Jerry Dykyj did not stand again for treasurer and Mike O’Neill as well as being reinstated as the secretary, was also elected as the treasurer. Ian “Bluey” Fryer was appointed as the Membership Officer to replace Laurie Case who unfortunately passed away on the 19th of September. We should be grateful to Blue as he was the one who started the association way back (see Para 1). Joe Dvoracsek stood down as a welfare officer due to family commitments but was admitted as a Life Member.
Committee meetings are now conducted on the second Tuesday of the month at the Sherwood/Indooroopilly RSL Sub Branch, 2 Clewley Street, Corinda, opposite the Sherwood Services Club near the Corinda Railway Station. Meetings are from 10.00 am for 10.30 am. All members or potential members of the Association and their spouses are invited to attend and to have a say in the conduct of the Association.
The objects shown on the right of the masthead are the 4 RAR (Cdo) logo and underneath the logo; The Unit Citation for Gallantry (UCG) awarded to the Battalion for their gallant actions in Afghanistan in 2006.
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For the updated story of 4 RAR Association, Qld Inc click the adjacent link 'Revision - August 2017.