Corporal McFarlane, from Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Corporal McFarlane, from Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Rob Mitchell

Army Reserves is adventure beyond 9-5

A TRIP to Gallipoli inspired Cameron McFarlane to join the Army Reserves, and in doing so become part of one of the most distinguished units in Queensland's Army Reserve Brigade.

Corporal McFarlane, from Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, is a section commander of a rifle company within the 9th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment (9RQR).

The Battalion has been present in all major conflicts, with one of its members among the first ashore at Gallipoli, making Cpl McFarlane's enlistment into the unit all the more appropriate, given his visit to that foreign coastline started him on his military journey.

"I did the back packing thing for five years after I left university back in 1991. My last stop before coming home was going to Gallipoli for ANZAC Day," he said.

"I must have eaten a dose of patriotism so when I came home I joined the Army Reserve. 

"What attracted me the most about the Army Reserve was that I was still able to hold down a civilian job and at the same time, parade with my local Army Reserve depot."

Designed to fit your lifestyle, the Army Reserve requires a minimum commitment of only 20 days each year, with the additional opportunities to take part in exercises, training and deployments to further hone your specialist skills.

Reserves spend at least two days each month on duty, with a longer training block every three months. In addition, Reservists can volunteer to participate in support tasks and courses, the pay for which is tax-free.

Deployments are optional, with many Reservists choosing to stay local and make a contribution when their community needs a hand.

When not on Reserve duty, Cpl McFarlane works as a high school teacher, teaching everything from Japanese to manual arts.

He said he has always been able to find the ideal balance between his civilian and military careers.

"I have taught all over Queensland and every major centre I have taught at had an Army Reserve depot," Cpl McFarlane said.

"If some of the smaller towns didn't have a depot, then the Army would make sure that this tyranny of distance didn't handicap me. 

"In 1999 and 2000, I taught in an Aboriginal community on an island in the Gulf of Carpentaria.  Whenever there was a field exercise or training to be done, the Army flew me off the island and onto my depot in Mt Isa.

"At the very least, I spend each Tuesday and one weekend a month at Reserves. During the year, I like to do one, two week field exercise, instruct on one two week course and try to attend a two week course for myself - like a promotion or weapons course. 

9RQR is currently recruiting riflemen, an opportunity for new Reservists to undergo state-of-the-art training with the latest equipment, and develop skills in leadership, communication and problem solving. 

Cpl McFarlane's advice for anyone considering joining the Reserves was simple.

"100% do it. Don't talk yourself out of it by serving up excuses," he said.

"Since I joined up in April 1997, I've had more good times than bad. In fact, I've never had a bad day, just the odd bad moment. That's not bad for 17 years."

There are more than 2000 Queenslanders serving in the Army Reserve. They are men and women that live in our towns and local communities. If you'd like to be part of something bigger, train and learn skills that will enhance your personal and professional life and get paid tax-free while you do it, join the Army Reserve today.

Visit www.defencejobs.gov.au or contact 13 19 01 to find out more.