Lone Pine Barracks and Rosemary

Museums of the Australian Army Infantry can be found in every state of Australia. I recently stumbled across the Hunter Valley branch attached to the Lone Pine Barracks at Singleton, about 25kms west of Maitland.

Why is the Australian Infantry Museum worth a visit? Because it’s not too big. I just love visiting the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and generally do so two or three times a year, but it is just so large that I tend to come out with information overload. Know what I mean?

The museum at Singleton has two display galleries with a wide variety of exhibits with short snatches of information about all the conflicts Australia has been involved in since the late 1800’s: just enough information to be a valuable learning tool and not overwhelming.(Ten years ago I would have scoffed and said it’s because they think the general population are idiots, but that’s another story…).

The Heritage Gallery, on the ground floor, includes heavy artillery and military vehicles, as well as personalising events and individual equipment pertaining to particular conflicts by way of photographs, momentos, and brief descriptions.

The Latchford Gallery on the mezzanine floor features collections of small arms emphasising the many changes and developments over the years.

Think you’ve heard and seen it all?

I had no idea that Australia had sent Peacekeepers to Rwanda. This is a particularly brutal read and provides insight into the machinations of our Army and the magnificent men and women who serve. Of those who spent time in Rwanda half came home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because they watched the brutality as it happened but were unable to get involved despite their years of training. Yes, I shed a quiet tear or two. Well, maybe not so quiet.

We’ve just learned that one of own, a 28 year old serviceman with two tours of Afghanistan under his belt, has committed suicide. Went to the hardware store three weeks ago and never came home. He was someone’s son, husband, and father……

With a military son-in-law, a father who was in Bomber Command and a father-in-law who was a Merchant Seaman and Master Mariner, I’ve been reminded that I’ve been extremely self indulgent these past weeks since my retirement. So, I’m back on the fundraising trail to assist these poor bastards : psychs, employment training, financial assistance to families, whatever it takes. Another sixty Rosemary plants for sale soon.

And it wasn’t a good move to watch Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk either. I think I now better understand why my parents were such big fans of Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner.

*If you’re in the vicinity the museum is well worth a visit and has a Cafe for refreshments.

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