by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Craftsman : Craftsman 2011
22 RAEMECRAFTSMANWinter2011 22 We received word that 51 FNQR had requested a crack team of RAEME personnel for an FRT to assist with repairs in both Cairns and Weipa. They requested that the men be not only good at their trade and mentally and physically tough, but keen fishermen as the Barra in the region have been giving them some grief. With that, our fearless boss LT Ellis here at 102 Field Workshops assembled our team of 4 greasers, 2 toerags, 2 stick burners, 1 fitter, 1 ’lecky and a scab lifter and the deployment orders were given. The first part of the mission was to assemble six rovers and three half tons in order to fit them out with toolboxes, parts, food, water, fuel and spare tyres to ensure they were good to make the distance up to Weipa as well as mission specific parts to get the jobs done. So after decking out the rovers with the important stuff like rock boxes, fridges, rod holders, crab pots, fishing gear and having a good old sound off we got right on it. Day 1 – We busted out of Lavarack Barracks like a guy waking from a bad one night stand. Our first stop was Ingham RSL so CFN Perry could inspect weapon licensing and storage. One of our specified tasks was to touch base with nearly all the RSL branches between Townsville and Cooktown so we could give some advice to ensure they were complying with state law and still proudly display any weapons they had on premises. Meanwhile, the rest of us had a brew around CFN Blandford and CFN Humphry’s rover which seemed to have chewed through half a tank in about 120km, no leaks were found so we put it down to driver error. After a quick coffee at the RSL we took off. At Innisfail RSL CFN Perry was off to inspect weapons while the rest of us had some lunch and changed our first flat tyre on our gun 2IC’s (CPL McLauchlan) half ton trailer. Back on the road and it was not long before we reached our first stopover at 51 FNQR’s Porton Barracks in Cairns. We unloaded our gear, got knocked off and went straight into town to have a brief sample of the local area. We then went back to the compound to have a BBQ and got geared up to head back into town to obtain a better understanding of the local culture. Day 2 – Kicked off with some PT run by the boss to ensure we were focused and ready for the day ahead. At 0930 h we saddled up in the transport kindly provided by 51 FNQR to head over to HMAS CAIRNS. We were given a tour of one of the Armidale class patrol boats (like the one on Sea Patrol) - pretty Gucci stuff. But as we found out they are actually on lease and under warranty so all of the good trade stuff was done by civilian tradies. The ‘pussers’ then gave us a tour of their workshop which was well decked out with not necessarily new machines but ‘working’ machines for bending, cutting, drilling, welding and you name it they most likely had one. Some of the boys just stood there in disbelief. After we managed to get the boys jaws off the ground we headed back to the compound so we could start on the repairs. CFN Humphrys (Barry) and I (Fat Mandy) tackled a steering box on a 4x4, CFN Mitchell (Mitch) and CFN Bell (Belly) started on a transmission removal and refit on another rover. The toerags - CPL Ramsay (Stevo) and CFN Fitzpatrick (Fitzy) - went to inspect a large quantity of chains and recovery equipment, CPL Thompson (Tomo) and CFN Blanford (Blannas) got to work on some Tinnies that required welding, CFN Perry (Pez) got hold of some outboards that needed some tinkering, and our scab lifter LCPL Gadsby (The Great Gatsby) he just watched on hoping we would hurt ourselves. Our tough 2IC Macca kept us on task and motivated while the boss planned for the days ahead and gained an insight on repairs needed in Weipa. Day 3 – Was an early start for a run out to some more RSL’s for weapon inspections (Mareeba, Atherton and Malanda) we followed the Kennedy Highway up to the tablelands with scenic stops at Lake Eacham and Milla Milla Falls. We enjoyed a great lunch while Mitch, Belly, Tomo and Blannas stayed back to finish the jobs they started the day prior. Back at 51 FNQR all the work was completed and we gained some information on the ARB air compressors equipped on the RSFV’s. We knocked off to join 51 FNQR at their boozer to watch QLD smash NSW in the origin yet again. Day 4 – After a set of convoy orders from the boss we set forth on our drive to Weipa with a detour out to Cooktown to check in on the RSL. After a few stops including mornos at Lakeland we finally arrived. Our fitter Pez headed down with the boss to the RSL to get the job done while the rest of us smashed some food in our heads and did a bit of sightseeing at the local lookout. We discovered that we were actually in Cooktown 240 years to the day of when Captain Cook first landed there! The boss said he planned it that way but we knew better. Then we were Oscar Mike (on the move) again heading to our night loc of Musgrave Station. During the drive we got a small taste (and I mean taste) of the gravel roads and dusty conditions of the notorious Penisula Developmental Road (PDR) which we would spend all of the next day driving on. Not long after entering our night loc and setting up our BBQ, 2IC Macca came across a bloke called Nick who was travelling back to Rockhampton from the Cape and having some issues with his Nissan GU Patrol with lights dimming and warning lights going off all over the dash. So Macca informed him he was in luck and that there was a dusty team of Army lads that would help him out. After some testing and a few curses we discovered his alternator was stuffed, and with an electric fuel pump and dying batteries it was not a good idea to keep driving as it was now dark. So after explaining to Nick a further 5 times why he should not try to run the gauntlet to Cairns at night, we finally got him to agree to camp the night while we charged his batteries so he could make the trip during the day so his lights would not drain his batteries and stop his engine. Far North Queensland Forward Repair Team (10 FSB) June 2010 CFN Michael Crewther and LT Glenn Ellis