July 2021 UPDATE
Planning for the 2021 national reunion is well advanced Covid notwithstanding. It remains to be seen what impact the availability of vaccines will have on the disrupted circumstances that were experienced during 2020. We remain positive that the reunion will happen!
To that end members should make accommodation bookings ASAP; most hotels will accept tentative bookings and allow for late cancellations should they become necessary.
There are 314 registrations to attend the reunion. This number is fantastic.
While still to be finalised, events planned are:
- Sunday 19 September:
- 1300 to 1630 – Registration Ainslie Football Club; and
- 1700 hrs to late – Meet and Greet, Ainslie Football Club.
- Monday 20 September:
- 1030 to 1200 – National Commemorative Service Operation Ivanhoe.
- 1200 onwards – own arrangements,maybe visit the Australian War Memorial (AWM); and
- 1800 to late – company functions.
- Tuesday 21 September:
- 0900 to 1530 – own arrangements.
- 1655 to 1715 – Last Post Ceremony AWM.
- 1730 – Return to accommodation; and
- 1900 to 2330 – Reunion Dinner – Ainslie Football Club.
- Wednesday 22 September.
- 0800 hrs onwards – ‘sick parade’ and dispersal.
National Commemorative Service
This event, organized and funded by DVA, is being held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Operation Ivanhoe and the Battle of Nui Le. Nationally televised, attendees will involve senior government, political and defence officials. Importantly, the event will honour veterans of all campaigns.
DVA this 50th anniversary as essential to give recognition and closure to all our members whatever campaigns they served in.
Last Post Ceremony
This ceremony at the AWM, although relatively short (maybe 20 minutes) is succinct yet solemn and poignant. It affords those attending the opportunity to reflect on the supreme sacrifice made by thousands of Australians. One such soldier is featured each day. On 21 September 2021, the soldier will be Private Ralph Niblett. Ralph, a machine-gunner, who was in 11 platoon, D company at the Battle of Nui Le. He was mortally wounded in the opening exchange of fire. He died a short while later before he could be evacuated. He was the last Australian soldier to die in Vietnam; he had also the unfortunate distinction of being the last National Serviceman to die.
On 18 September, the day Operation Ivanhoe commenced, Private Keith (Kiwi) Kingston-Powles, who was also killed on 21 September, will be remembered at the Last Post Ceremony on that date. Those already in Canberra are encouraged to attend and join with Kiwi’s family to remember him.
The dinner will be held at the Ainslie Football Club commencing at 1900 for 1930. A 3-course meal will be served, and a 4-hour drinks package is included in the dinner cost of $150.00 per head.
Along with the 4 RAR colours being present, a band combo (hopefully from the RMC band) is being arranged and a comedian/magician, Mr Phil Cass who performed at the 2011 Gold Coast Reunion, has also been engaged. (Phil’s brother Russ Cass served in B company on the battalion’s first tour of SVN.)
The reunion should be a great event given the hard work of the committee to make it so. If you are in some doubt, consider this. The planned Canberra reunion may well be the last such event. The simple fact is that there do not appear to be any takers, from the younger ‘millennial’ military generation, prepared to take over. These comments are not intended as a criticism, but they simply represent the inevitable changes that have always occurred from generation to generation
Reunion Planning Committee
DECO HOTEL CANBERRA – 11 MINUTES WALK TO Ainslie Football Club
- King Luxe (50 rooms) $189 per room, per night (Max 2 Persons)
Breakfast additional $20 per person per day
- One Bedroom Apartment (70 rooms) $229 per room, per night
(Breakfast additional $20 per head per day)
- Two Bedroom Apartment (40 Rooms) $378 per room, per night
(Breakfast additional $20.00 per person per day)
MERCURE CANBERRA – 24-minute walk to the Ainslie Football Club
- Porterage available at $8.00 per person
- Run of the House Single Room (60 rooms max across both room types) (max 1person) $175 per room per night (buffet breakfast included)
- Run of the House Twin Share $194 per room per night (Max 2persons)
(Buffet breakfast included)
PAVILION ON NORTHBOURNE – 10 Minute walk to Ainslie Football Club
- Atrium Rooms (100) 1 Queen Bed or 2 singles or 3 singles $244 per room per night (breakfast additional $20 per person per day)
IBIS STYLES TALL TREES CANBERRA – 10 Minute walk to Ainslie Football Club
- Standard Queen Room (total 83 Rooms across both types) (Max 2 persons)
$139 per room per night (breakfast included daily)
- Superior Twin Room $169 per room per night (breakfast included daily)
CANBERRA REX HOTEL – 16 Minute walk to Ainslie Football Club
- Standard King Room (58 rooms) $150 per room per night (Max 2 persons)
(Breakfast included daily)
- Crown Suites (22 rooms) $175 per room per night (Max 2 persons)
(Breakfast included daily)
- Alivio – (02) 6247 5466 – well maintained but is quite expensive – http://aliviogroup.com.au – Also has cabins/on-site vans.
- Canberra Park – hpps//www.canberrapark.com.au – is now open and taking bookings–
- Contact number available now: (02) 6130 1000. It is conveniently located on the Federal Highway.
- The latter is probably pick of the two. There is one in Queanbeyan (also being renovated), which would be quite good, but it is about a 25-minute drive to Ainslie Football Club.
- For bookings ELLANDALE TRAVEL DETAILS:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 08 9321 0199