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President's Report 2009

At this time of the year when we once again turn our focus to Anzac Day and commemorate qualities such as courage, sacrifice and service, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the recent tragic events of the Victorian bushfires.

Out of the loss and devastation created by the fires one thing emerged in tact; the human spirit. Dozens of examples surfaced of courage, selflessness and determination by those who faced the horror of the firestorm.

In the aftermath came the overwhelming community response to help the survivors, galvanising the nation in a way rarely seen. The qualities on display were many of those we consider define the Australian character, most notably looking out for a mate.

It is likely that for many young Australians this was their first real exposure to these positive values, certainly on such a scale.

Contemporary society has become so influenced by consumerism, the emphasis on celebrity and the individual that notions and values like community and service are often seen as belonging to another era; not appropriate to the ‘me’ generation. However, the re-emergence of these ‘old’ values was never more apparent than in this time of great suffering.

Those of us who have grown up within the 2/3rd ‘family’ have always known that the best of the Australian character still exists, we don’t need to be reminded because we have been exposed to it constantly over the years by a wonderful group of men.

At this very sad time however it is comforting to see that the same character and spirit is still very much alive in the broader Australian community.

On the home front, I am pleased to report that the new Regimental Association administration is well established and functioning effectively. The transition from the old guard was always going to be challenging given the years of experience and involvement they had amassed and the high standards they had set.

However I believe we have a very willing and capable team comprising the new committee, one that is committed to continuing the excellent work done by the ‘originals’ over so many years.

It is our intention to keep the membership up to date with committee activities and decisions. In keeping with this aim, members would have received a recent communication outlining these and other matters of relevance.

Included in that report was the appointment of David McDonald to the committee in the capacity of Regimental Historian. David is ideally suited for this role being based in Canberra and with his excellent contacts, obvious ability and his passion for the 2/3rd, he represents a valuable addition to the committee.

A current focus of the committee has been the preparation and submission of two applications for DVA funding; one for the establishment of a website and the other to provide for the digitisation of important material – documents, photographs etc. This latter process being the most effective method of safely preserving material, which would otherwise deteriorate over time.

In respect of these applications I must take this opportunity to congratulate David McDonald and Colin Bragg - David for his very detailed and professional proposals and Colin for his excellent work in submitting the applications.

My thanks to committee members Anne Rae, Ann and Colin Bragg, Graeme and Matthew Heddle, David McDonald and of course John Hepworth for their involvement and contribution over the past year.

Whilst thanking all members of the committee, I do want to single out our secretary Colin Bragg for special mention. Colin has been doing a power

of work behind the scenes in all aspects of Association business and has brought a high degree of enthusiasm and professionalism to the task.

As a “background” task, Colin has recently completed transcribing the original roll, cross-referencing and categorising it and then recording it electronically. The electronic roll will form an important asset for the Association into the future.

Our long serving Treasurer, John Hepworth will be standing down at the AGM, and his role will be assumed by Ann Bragg. Given John’s marvellous contribution as Treasurer over so many years they are big shoes to fill, but I know Ann will do a great job.

The Bragg family contribution doesn’t end there; son Cameron has very generously offered his time and talent in the production of Take Post on an ongoing basis. We thank him for his willingness to help in such a tangible way.

By now the astute reader will have noticed that the seat of power and influence in the Association is clearly based at ‘Bragg Manor’ in Shepparton. On a serious note however, it represents a very real commitment on the part of the Bragg family and is the sort of commitment that drives Associations such as ours.

In conclusion, personally and on behalf of the new committee, I want to register my thanks and appreciation to all original 2/3rd members who have shown faith in us and given us their unqualified support.

Particular thanks must go to Ron Bryant, John Campbell, John Hepworth and Cec Rae for their advice, assistance and encouragement over the past year. It has made the transition so much easier and we invite and welcome their input and that of other members in the future. It is a privilege to be involved with men of such high calibre.

Good luck and best wishes to all.

Lynton Rose