I grew up in a small country town in South Australia, a place called Loxton, in a group of towns, Riverland, it's up on the eastern side of the state, up on the River Murray. So I went through my schooling and I, like any country town, played a myriad of different sports, summer and winter, and was actively involved in the community.
My interest in the military actually wasn't about the military in itself, if it was about being part of something larger than myself and belonging and serving. I was looking at the police force, and I was looking at the military. And I was in Adelaide, doing recruitment with work experience with the police. And I went into recruitment for defence.
Back then, we didn't have internet, how you actually search was difficult. And I actually just went in and there was no one in the line for army because there's people at the air force table and the navy table. And I asked, "What's army about?" And they gave me a bit of an understanding, and they said, "Well, what do you want to do?" And I said, "Well, what have you got?" And they said, "Well, you can be an officer or a general entry." And I said, "Well, explain both of those to me." And they said to me, "Well, what education have you got?" And I said, "I'm currently doing my year 12."
And they said, "Why don't you go to be an officer?" I said, "Okay, what is that?" Explained it to bit more. And then I went through the selection process, and somehow convinced to him that I was the right person for the job. But I certainly saw my little card and I was an average. I was a C, but we didn't know that at the time.
So I joined as an 18-year-old. Probably one of the youngest for the first integrated training at Portsea. Officer Cadet School, Portsea, 1985. It was the first year of integrated training and the last course for Portsea before it folded and RMC in ADFA commenced in 1986. So it was a 12-month integrated course.