LOOKING BACK: Theodore RSL sub-branch president Ben O'Donnell and vice-president Noel Pope.
LOOKING BACK: Theodore RSL sub-branch president Ben O'Donnell and vice-president Noel Pope. Cameron McCrohon

Service gives identity to Noel

NOEL Pope was 18 years old when he joined the military, and life as a private reshaped his whole identity.

He had been working as a carpenter's apprentice in Brisbane, without any family around, and the army offered things he craved - better wages, community and the opportunity to serve.

His transformation began during basic training at Kapooka, near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

Out of 1400 recruits, Noel was awarded most outstanding soldier, one of only two awards offered at the time.

It was a turning point in his life.

"I was a shy bushy kid and lacked a lot of confidence, especially where the Aborigines were at at that time,” he said.

"I distinctly remember when I got that award and I was marching back into the ranks, something in me said 'I'm as good as everyone else'.

"When we joined the army we all changed; we all came from different walks of life.

"The military changed who we were and I am very grateful for that.”

Noel was deployed in Vietnam in 1972-73, and what he encountered there made him thankful for everything we have in Australia.

This Anzac Day he will be marching through Theodore with fellow veterans and community members, reflecting on the pledge they made to serve and protect, and remembering the sacrifices all service men and women have made.

"Anzac Day is a sacred day to veterans,” Noel said.

"Sacred in the sense that it's remembrance, it's reflection, and it's respect.

"It's not about the actual stuff that we did; it's about us coming together and protecting each other.”

Noel said the military taught him key values that have stayed with him throughout his life - the values of responsibility, relationships, respect and ownership, as well as service.

"Once you serve in the military you will always be service personnel,” he said.

"You give back to the community and you want to make the world a better place.”

Anzac day Schedule

DAWN

Biloela:

4-4.30am, Cenotaph, Biloela RSLA Park, Callide St

Taroom:

5.30am, Taroom Cenotaph, Leichhardt Hwy / Yaldwyn St

Moura:

4.15-5am, Moura RSL, corner of Marshall St and Young St

Wowan:

5.30-5.45am, RSSAILA Memorial Hall, Don St

The service will be followed by a breakfast.

Cracow:

5.45-6.30am, The Boulevard

Theodore:

6-7am, War Memorial, Bull Ring, The Boulevard

Tea and coffee to follow the service.

Monto:

5.45-6.15am, RSL Club Rooms, 7 Rutherford St

MARCH

Biloela:

9.30-10am. Marchers assemble at Achievement Park, beside Biloela Information Centre

The march will proceed along Callide St and finish at Biloela RSLA Park, beside the Biloela Anzac Memorial Club.

Moura:

10-10.15am. The march begins at the service station on the Dawson Hwy, and ends at Moura RSL

Wowan:

10.15-11am. Ambulance Station, Railway Ave

Theodore:

10-10.30am, Hotel Theodore, 23 The Boulevard

MAIN SERVICE

Biloela:

10-10.30am, Cenotaph, Biloela RSLA Park, Callide St

Moura:

10.15-11am, Moura RSL, corner of Marshall St and Young St

Wowan:

11-11.45am, RSSAILA Memorial Hall, Lot 12 Don St

The service will be followed by a barbecue and social bowls.

Theodore:

10.30-11.45, War Memorial, Bull Ring, The Boulevard

Barbecue to follow the service.

Taroom:

10.30am, Taroom Cenotaph, Yaldwyn St, 10.30am

Monto:

10-11am, Monto Community Hall, 51 Newton St

Wrap up of the Callide Valley show

Wrap up of the Callide Valley show

Callide Valley Show another great success

Fight for Tamil refugee family goes on

Fight for Tamil refugee family goes on

Our fight has been they are our people

Dry weather turns nights cold

Dry weather turns nights cold

Today's weather will be mostly sunny