Army march across Cooloola

Bravo Company 8/9 RAR assemble on Carlo Sandblow after their 70km of pack marching

Bravo Company 8/9 RAR assemble on Carlo Sandblow after their 70km of pack marching

by Michelle Gilmore

If you had been driving up from Noosa the other week, you would have been surprised by the traffic. Not vehicles, but 95 soldiers!

To minimise the environmental impact on the National Park, Bravo Company 8/9 RAR  took a different route most days to “The Great Walk”, a five-day, 102km track that leads trekkers over the heights of Cooloola Recreation Area.

Major Scott Stort, Officer Commanding Bravo Company 8/9 RAR said, “We started at the Tewantin Ferry up the beach. We camped at the beginning of Teewah Beach and Freshwater Campground, then walked our last bit today – just short of 70km.”

He and his fellow officers emphasised – “It wasn’t a walk – it was pack marching!”

This resilience training meant each person hefted at least 30-40kg 27km on the first day, 20km the next , then 18-19km past Poona Lake and Carlo Sandblow on the day we met.

It was supposed to be physically demanding, so I guess that fit the bill.

All of the men were stationed at Enoggera near Brisbane, but it wasn’t Major Stort’s first visit to our coast. He said, “I grew up on the Sunny Coast, fishing and camping at Double Island Point.”

Then I remembered our weather whilst they were out in the open – the days were hot and sunny, but both nights it poured!

The men smiled, and said it was “character building”, and that the march definitely achieved the aim of exposing them to different and challenging scenarios.

But they all agreed, as they enjoyed their first decent feed in days, that they’d like to come back and experience the area – without the packs!