Wacol Church Service





The RAAF Ensign was marched in and laid up in a solemn ceremony
at the National Service Heritage Chapel to mark National Service Day.



 The hand-made silk flag, with gold fringes, is the gift of the
National Servicemen’s Branch of the Royal Australia Air Force Association.

It honours the 23,500 young men called up for service in the RAAF between 1951 and 1957. Of them, 4,000 were Queenslanders.


 The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd AO (right) and senior officers from Amberley Air Force Base attended the service.
The Amberley Brass Band provided the music and the No2 Wing Precision Drill Team of the Australia Air Force Cadets formed the Guard of Honour.

Air Marshal Shepherd later opened the Air Force Display in the Everyman’s Hut, which will form the first stage of the National Service Museum.

The President of the National Servicemen’s Branch of the RAAF Association, Bob Cotter, who also is Brisbane South Branch President of the NSAA, carried the Ensign in.
He was escorted by four Cadets. After kneeling at the altar, Mr.Cotter presented the Ensign to the Association’s State Padre, Dr.Noel Wallis, who draped it on the new altar table, blessed just before the Service.
The RAAF Association’s Chaplain, Father Paul Goodland, then blessed the Ensign.

The RAAF Ensign is the first of three to hang in the Chapel representing the three Services. Mrs.Anne Cooke, wife of our Patron, Major-General Kevin Cooke AO, read the Ode.
She represented RAAF families. Her uncle,
Flight Lieutenant Bill Michelson, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in Korea.

Apart from the altar table, the Chapel’s pews have been refurbished and new ones built. They bear plaques honouring the Branches who donated them.


The walls of the Chapel are decorated with a collection of Army unit patches, bullion embroidered badges and the Australia Coat of Arms and a ship’s-wheel clock in memory of the late Tony Ward.

Temporary air-conditioning made conditions comfortable in the high
humidity. (Left) The Chief of Air Force chats with Pilot Officer
Sharon Macintosh, OIC of the No.2 Wing Precision Drill Team of the

The new pews can be seen in the background. Earlier, the Air Marshal
received a General Salute from the No.2 Wing Guard. He then inspected
it accompanied by its Under Officer Warrant Officer XXXXXXXXXXX Nashos, most of whom had formed similar Guards, catafalque parties
or taken station on Memorials, watched with an interested and expert eye.

The State President, Colin Bell, watched by Air Marshal Shepherd and our National President, Earle Jennings, presented an RAAF flag to the No.2 Precision Drill Team on behalf of the Association. The unit has provided Guards of Honour at most of the NSAA parades and services.

A large group of National Servicemen and their families joined with the official guests in the Laying Up ceremony and the service that followed. They then inspected the Air Force Display which was designed by the State President and built with hundreds of voluntary man-hours. The large collection of RAAF photographs were mounted by the Association’s own team of framers.

The Association plans to open the Museum to the public, particularly school-children, when it is completed.


The Chief of Air Force brought his own special guest with him – his
Mother, Mrs.Margaret Shepherd, of Ashgrove.

Air Marshal Shepherd grew up in Brisbane. His commands included No.82
Wing at Amberley.

The Association was delighted when she requested to attend the
Ceremony. Then our Media Officer had the rare privilege of telling an
Air Marshal a command that not even the Air Force’s CO could disobey
– his mother would like a photo with him.

We reckon she’s proud of him.


 Wacol Church Service  



More than 500 National Servicemen and their families attended their first church parade at Wacol in almost 50 years on 12 February.

They were present at the service in the restored Wacol Chapel marking National Service Day.
The Chapel is the centrepiece building of the National Service Heritage Precinct at the former Wacol Army Camp.

Bishop Adrian Charles, who was stationed at Wacol leads the service at the lectern, with Dr.Noel Wallis beside him

The new Minister for Veterans Affairs, the Hon. Bruce Billson MP, give the Address during the Service. He changed appointments in Canberra to be present. Veterans Affairs Minister, the Hon.Bruce Billson MP, with children from the Richlands State School choirThe Minister used as his text the story of Gideon and the test of preparedness he used in choosing his soldiers for the defence of Israel. He thanked National Servicemen on behalf of the nation for their preparedness to accept their responsibility to be ready to help defend Australia.Mr.Billson noted that 212 National Servicemen had died in Borneo and Vietnam doing their duty.

The Minister led a large group of official guests representing Members of Parliament, Councillors, the three Armed Services, kindred ex-service organisations and community groups. Bishop Adrian Charles, who was stationed at Wacol and helped preserve the plaque on the Memorial Stone in front of the Chapel and the NSAA’s Queensland Padre, Dr.Noel Wallis, officiated.

Because of the large overflow congregation, those who could not fit into the Chapel listened to the service broadcast over outside speakers.
It was a good idea on a very hot and humid February day. The Association plans to air condition the Chapel in time for next year given that February’s weather is why the annual Parade has been moved to link up with the Reserve Forces march on July 2 and our own Parade on 10 September for the annual State Conference and the 55th anniversary of National Service.

Cadets formed an important part of the Church Parade.
The AAFC No.2 Wing Precision Drill Team provided the Guard of Honour to greet official guests. Army Cadets from 12CU marched the colours into the Chapel and out again after the Service, in a precision display with our own armed Colour Party of Nigel Sutton and Ron Ward.

This Unit will be housed in the Heritage Precinct as part of the Association’s program to foster Cadet Units. They, together with the Reserves, closely parallel our Service experience and will be our successors.

In Canberra on 27 February, the State President, Mr.Colin Bell and the Media Officer, Mr.Allen Callaghan, called on the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator Sandy MacDonald, whose responsibilities include Cadets to outline the NSAA’s concern over their future. Senator MacDonald outlined changes in Government policy that will align Cadet training with the three Services and integrate them more closely with the Navy, Army and Air Force.

At the conclusion of the Service, the Veterans Affairs Minister and the Consul General of Papua New Guinea jointly opened the new Museum of the Papua New Guinea Volunteer Rifles. The Museum houses photographs, documents and memorabilia of the PNGVR, many of whose members did their National Service training at Wacol before returning to the unit for the CMF component. The unit was the only one in the Australian Army raised, trained and maintained outside Australia itself. Its history began before World War Two and it saw active service against the Japanese including patrols and coast watching. After the War, it was the first Army unit to introduce the successful integration of all nationalities in Papua New Guinea. The PNGVR was disbanded in 1974 when PNG became independent and was succeeded by the Pacific Islands Regiment. Some 600 Vietnam-era Nashos who were teachers were seconded to the PIR to help educate PNG soldiers.The Museum is a joint project with the NSAA to house items from the collections of both organisations. It will be open to Nashos and to the public during events at the Heritage Precinct and on other selected days. The National Service Day observance ended with lunch in the Everyman’s Hut. Overall, given some teething problems, organisers and Nashos were pleased with the success of the event and its significance in the history of the Association and Wacol.

The Church Parade will become an annual one to help maintain the direct link with our training days. The Association has asked the Navy and the Air Force to consider providing items to represent their Services on the walls of the Chapel with the display of Army colour patches

3Wacol Church Service




The armed Naval escort presents the Navy Ensign for Laying Up in the Chapel at the National Service Heritage Precinct at Wacol on 17 February 2008.

Tradition in the Services teaches loyalty, honour and sacrifice, Australia 's former Governor General, the Honorable Bill Hayden, told the audience at a solemn Naval ceremony at the Wacol Chapel.

Mr.Hayden, a Naval National Servicemen in the first intake at HMAS Flinders in 1951, said his training had stood him in good stead as a police officer and later Leader of the ALP Opposition in Federal Parliament.

He was speaking to a packed Chapel with guests overflowing into a marquee outside at the National Service Heritage Precinct on Sunday, 17 February.

An armed Naval escort had marched in the Royal Navy Ensign under which most Australian Navy personnel, including National Servicemen, had served prior to the RAN adopting its own Ensign in 1967.

The hand-made silk Ensign with gold fringes is a gift of Navy Nashos. Permission to lay up the former Ensign had to be given by the First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy and then permission was given by the RAN's Chief of Navy, Vice-Admiral Russ Shalders, for the armed escort to parade in what now is a foreign flag. The old ensign has the red cross of St.George on a white background. The current RAN Ensign has the Federation Star and the Southern Cross in blue on a white background.

Both flags were present at Wacol on the day the current ensign was flown on the Precinct flagpole.


The Naval Officer Commanding South East Queensland , Commander Forbes Peters ADC RAN, representing the Chief of Navy, receives the salute before inspecting the Guard from TS Ipswich . They are watched by Queensland Vice-President, Alex Garlin, a Navy National Serviceman.



The Navy Band provided the music for the march-in and the traditional Naval hymn, Eternal Father Strong to Save. The service was conducted by RAN Chaplain, the Rev. Burt Johns. The bible readings by current and former Navy personnel were on the theme of courage and sacrifice.

The Guard of Honour which saluted the Navy's Commanding Officer South-East Queensland. Commander Forbes Peters and Mr.Hayden, was provided by Navy cadets from Training Ship Ipswich.

The Naval Ensign joins the RAAF Ensign already hanging in the Chapel.

The Australian flag, of which the Army is the guardian, will be paraded in next year. It will be blessed and then hung in the Chapel. It cannot be laid up because, unlike the Navy and RAAF Ensigns used during National Service, it is still in service.