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Welcome to our new sponsor, RSL CareMore information here
watch the new video on Trojan’s TrekClick here to watch our video
Listen to Moose and Rachael on Triple Js Hack programmeIn 2005, Steve Cannane interviewed Moose and Rachael on Triple Js Hack programme about the inter-generational effects of war. He later won a Walkley Award for this interview. You can listen here
Listen to Moose on Conversations with Richard Fidler
What our participants are saying
“Counselling is clinical, this is personal…”
“I just wish I could have had this opportunity fifteen years ago...”
“I am finding answers to why I think I am what I am....I am mainly here because I see myself failing as a father at home.”
A beautiful day greeted the 200 plus dogs crowd which gathered on the banks of the Torrens Lake on 25 Oct to take part in the Veterans’ Support Walk.
This year the day was organised by Reuben Vanderzalm from Adelaide Exercise Physiology assisted by some of his staff and a few other volunteers. Thanks Reuben and company.
After parking of the parade ground the crowd waited patiently for the start while listening to some interesting and funny commentary from Peter Goers. A number of serious runners were among those gathered, looking for a share of the cash prizes on offer.
The Veterans Rowing Club catered for those with a need for a morning coffee while the MFS through David Gorham worked frantically to set up the BBQ which happened to coincide with an emergency response in the city. And a close thing it was too with the first batch of snags rolling off the barby as the quickest groups completed the 5km course.
Winners for the day were:
1st male Lauchie Hennig,
1st female Zhali Clarke,
1st Team Steve, Lindi and Mike and the random $50 winners were Jeanette Mossop (who handed her winning back), and Wendy Turner.
A number of raffle winners also departed smiling. The day will clear in excess of $14.5K which is a great effort.
Thanks to all those who gave support to the day.
From: Lieutenant Colonel Moose Dunlop OAM (Retd) 0408 088 886 email@example.com web www.trojanstrek.com
“If I wasn’t here, I know I would not live to see Xmas.” Trekker
TROJAN’S TREK (QLD AND SA) 2015
1. This report covers the Qld and SA treks. The Qld trek was conducted from 9 to 14 August and was the first run in that state. It was conducted as a pilot program to ascertain the viability of future treks. In SA, the male and female treks ran from 20 to 25 September. A number of staff from SA travelled to Qld to assist with the initial trek conduct. The longer term intention is to train and employ staff from Qld to make that operation self-supporting.
2. For the second year, the SA treks included a female version which was conducted concurrently but separately to the male. This year reinforced our earlier experience with the female team, confirming that females are not as flexible in terms of overnight stays, preferring strongly to have access to showers and flushing toilets. This can be managed but does cause issues with staff movement from the male to the female team to present. This aspect will be covered later in this report.
The aim of Trojan’s Trek is to provide a setting and conditions under which participants experience a lasting positive shift in personal values and interpersonal relationships.
The objectives of the trek are to assist the participants, through group and individual challenge, achieve the following:
- an understanding of how thoughts and feelings influence behaviour,
- exposure to various strategies which will bring about positive change,
- individual responses which are effective in achieving goals,
- improving interpersonal relationships, and
- enhance self-esteem.
6. These objectives have been reviewed and remain valid. The philosophy backing the trek is one which enables successful condition self-management resulting from changes in participant perception. This in turn changes behaviour and personal interaction in a positive way, and although these objectives appear simple in concept, the successful delivery depends heavily on the credibility of the advice given. Therefore the part played by the staff in the process cannot be over-emphasised.
7. In order to justify the program’s claims to successful outcomes, four standard psychosocial instruments were again used to measure outcomes.
- Life Satisfaction Scale (Hilda) for comparison with Australian normative data,
- Positive and Negative Interactions,
- General Perceived Self Efficacy Scale, and
- DASS 21.
8. These are completed on three occasions:
- prior to the commencement of the trek,
- Immediately following the completion of the trek, and
- two to three months later.
10. The number attending the male trek in Qld was fewer than expected, the target figure being twelve. A better response is predicted for future treks.
11. Four serving members from 7 RAR attended the male SA trek as well as one ex NSW police officer. This is the third police officer who has attended a trek. His inclusion was due to a personal approach from his sister. Initial feedback has indicated that he benefitted significantly.
12. All services were represented among the female attendees. For the second year, HMAS Albatross at Nowra nominated a past trekker to attend. Realising the benefits which result from trek attendance, the navy paid for travel from Nowra. Her contribution was valuable and appreciated.
13. Qld. Providing sufficient competent staff for the Qld trek proved to be challenging. To resolve this Dogs Kearney and Moose Dunlop flew from SA to take part in the trek. As well two members, who were camp and kitchen staff, travelled by road from SA carrying the swags and some additional cooking gear.
14. SA. The SA trek is more difficult to staff. There are two teams which operate some distance apart and two of the male facilitators are used to present material to both. This is problematic as travelling times are slow and teams are denied some of their staff for varying periods. This problem is being addressed by embarking on a program to train female facilitators to enable them to present sessions which the males have presented to date. This will occur early in the New Year.
15. The weather during both treks was as anticipated and predicted. The Millmerran area was subjected to below zero morning temperatures.
16. The funds for the 2015 treks were raised in both SA and Qld and devoted to activities in the respective states.
a. SA. The SA treks were funded from a number of sources. Each year the foundation conducts a major fund raiser with the Veterans’ Support Walk in October. These funds were complimented by a number of other organisations and corporations as well as individuals. This year a $10K gant was secured from SA Health to support the initiative.
b. Qld. The Qld trek was funded by RSL Care and RSL Qld who have been aware for 3 years of the successful outcomes achieved by the program. Their financial support has been secured into the future.
17. Transport requirements to and during the treks were as follows:
- One 13 seat bus to carry the team and one staff supervisor to Captain’s Mountain, the start point.
- Six vehicles (3 x 4 WD vehicles and 3 x AWD Vehicles) were hired for the duration of the trek. These were supplemented by a Hilux 4WD owned by one of the mentors. The vehicle with the enclosed trailer was driven from South Australia.
- At the conclusion of the trek, staff and participants returned to Brisbane in the 4 WD vehicles.
- Two 22 seat buses to carry the two teams and one staff supervisor per bus to Moolooloo HS.
- Eleven 4 WD vehicles; two towing a covered and an enclosed trailer, and one towing an uncovered trailer. These were also used to transport the staff to Moolooloo HS.
- At the conclusion of the trek, staff and participants returned to Adelaide in the 4WD vehicles.
18. The insurance excess which applies to hire vehicles in the case of accident remains a matter of concern. In spite of a payment of $33 per day per vehicle to reduce the insurance excess to the minimum in the case of accident, the excess remains at $2,500 (single vehicle accident) and $550 (multiple vehicles).
19. Qld. The trek location is approximately 300 km west of Brisbane. The base was established at the SSAA Range complex which is 20 km west of Millmerran on the Gore Highway. The facility is well presented, has a full time curator, an industrial kitchen, dams and with a capability to cater for about 200 people. The property occupies approximately 400 acres which varies in type and relief from north to south. The property adjoins a national park and state owned forest covering a further 30,000 hectares to which the trek had unfettered access. The hiring arrangements with SSAA are most agreeable.
20. SA. The trek established a base at Moolooloo HS Shearers’ Quarters which is 32 km NE of Parachilna on the Glass Gorge Road. The station occupies approximately 540 square miles of country which varies in type and relief from east to west. The distance to the area of the trek is approximately 520 km from Adelaide. Travelling these distances is time consuming and expensive in fuel, but the advantages in having no mobile telephone, television or radio reception more than offset the disadvantages of travel. A trip of this duration also permits the participants to get to know each other en-route. The feedback from the participants on the location is positive.
21. A press release prior to each trek was issued through the RSL. The ABC SE Qld attended the Qld trek and a sensitive TV report went to air. In SA the Sunday show on ABC 891 carried an interview with the Project Director.
22. The use of a period set aside daily to complete individual journals has proved to be an important element for participants. The journals are used to record personal responses to the various lessons of the day and to make general comment on the trek. This has proved to be satisfactory from the point of view of progressive comment and also provides an opportunity to collectively review and anchor the day’s lessons. Although these comments are qualitative they do represent the perceptions of the participants at the time and are not always strictly in accord with the quantitative measurements gained via the psychosocial instruments listed at paragraph 7.
23. The messages which are conveyed during the trek are related to relationships and behavior management. Simple subjects; but the style and method of delivery combined with the surroundings make the messages much more powerful. There is no doubt having read the journals, that the live-in nature of the trek when shared with other veterans is a significant factor in the success of the program.
24. A doctor was not available in either state on this occasion but this was not considered a problem. Adequate coverage was provided as follows:
a. Qld. The nearest fully equipped hospital is at Millmerran, approximately half an hour away by road from the base. First line medical support was provided by an ex-defence force medical member. A number of other staff are also qualified as senior first aiders. The longest exposure to the most serious risk was assessed as traffic accidents during the trip to and from Captain’s Mountain. No medical or psychiatric issues arose.
b. SA. The nearest fully equipped hospital is at Hawker, approximately 1.2 hours away. First line medical support was provided by a Victorian Ambulance Para-medic. He reported with his own vehicle and equipment. A number of other staff are also qualified as senior first aiders. The longest exposure to the most serious risk was assessed as traffic accidents during the trip to and from Moolooloo. No medical or psychiatric issues arose.
25. Program content in both states is the responsibility of the Project Director, Moose Dunlop. The delivery of the male program and most aspects of the female program is the joint responsibility of the Chief Instructor Dogs Kearney and civilian consultants Peter Keith and Andrew Badenoch. Additionally a number of female centric topics were presented to the female team by the two female facilitators, Connie Jongeneel and Anna Sutcliffe. These treks again utilized the opportunity to provide further training for other past trekkers who are part of the succession plan. A female RAN member who previously attended as a trekker attended 2015 as a mentor. It is hoped her involvement will continue.
26. In the opinion of the participants, the lessons and program outcomes appear to be more effective when delivered by a veteran as opposed to clinician in consulting rooms. This is completely
In accord with the philosophy on which the trek is based; that is veterans helping veterans with oversight of the tribal elders. This approach has been adopted over many thousands of years by other civilizations.
27. The tenor of the week is relaxed yet highly focused on outcomes. This comes as a surprise to most of the participants whose expectations are for the experienec run along military lines. This is the antithesis of the practice.
28. The inclusion of two civilian experts provides a balance to the military presence. They deliver sessions linked to their expertise and are skilled in providing advice and encouragement in a form which is perceived differently to that provided by the veterans. The balance is fine but necessary to gain the confidence of the attendees. The gains from their inclusion are manifold.
29. Telephone. Mobile telephones do not operate north of Hawker and are patchy in the Captain’s Mountain area. However, telephone communications are available via a landline at the Shearer’s Quarters and at the SSAA Complex at Captain’s Mountain. A satellite telephone was available in the bush during both treks if an emergency arose. It was not used.
30. Radio. While in the bush, UHF CB hand held and vehicle mounted radios were used for communications on simplex. Duplex on Channel 3 is also available at Moolooloo for contact at greater distances by UHF.
31. There is no doubt that the isolation and the live-in nature of the trek are powerful catalysts in conveying opinions and promoting disarming honest comment from all concerned. Sustained by the opinion of strong anecdotal evidence, the trek was an outstanding success; this comment applies to both male and female versions. However, the realization that behavior affects relationships and behavior modification may offer an answer to an unsatisfactory personal life is just the start. In the opinions of the participants, they have universally achieved a number of goals and leave equipped to face the challenge. By their own admission, not only have the participants faced and discussed their problems frankly among the other attendees and staff, many have formed relationships which are based on personal and common problems.
32. For some this is the commencement of a long journey; understanding and further help will assist in their arriving at a better place. The real test will be to carry the determination into each individual’s domain and anchor that in their lives. It is desirable that participants form a mental strong point to which they can retreat before consolidation and continuation. It is this aspect of the total picture which requires much greater external support and follow-up from existing supporting networks.
33. One of the discoveries which more than half of the group became aware of was that they and their families have lived through personal problems thinking they were alone in their pain and frustration. All of the participants exchanged email addresses and intend to maintain contact and provide advice and assistance to each other. This internal bonding is proving most valuable in their respective journeys
34. Both the participants and staff believe that there is an ongoing role for programs of this nature for veterans. The principles may also be applied to other vocations. The trek may not suit every veteran but it is a valuable and effective adjunct to other treatment.
35. Further information about the Foundation and trek is available on the web site at www.trojanstrek.com.
Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) OAM
20 October 2015
Distribution: TT Board Members
Minister for Veterans’ SA
CEO, RSL SA
Director VVCS Adelaide
President RAR Assoc SA
Secretary RARC Ted Chitham MC
A part of community awareness, Moose Dunlop OAM and James Paterson,
a veteran of the Iraq war, responded to an invitation to address the club on 12 October.
A large group of about 55 listened to the Probus member Tom Pearce thanks Moose for his address presentation and to James personal experience with stress illness and his recovery.
The number of insightful and astute questions which followed indicated a high level of interest in the approach taken by the foundation.
RSL (Queensland Branch) is proud to have supported Trojan’s Trek’s inaugural Queensland-based event to ensure local veterans who are struggling to cope with life outside the military have access to this evidence-based therapy.
RSL understands that the transition to civilian life poses numerous battles for veterans and, through partnering with a number of different programs, we are able to maximise the assistance we can provide. We also understand the value of veterans helping veterans, as it is through shared experiences that those who are struggling may be able to forge a path forward and develop a valuable support network.
Our support of Trojan’s Trek is just one example of our commitment to supporting those who are serving or those who have served in the Australian Defence Force and their families.
To understand the services available and programs supported by RSL (Queensland Branch) visit www.rslqld.org.
In the spirit of their legacy, RSL Care continues to promote wellbeing for our fellow Australians and veterans.
This August, RSL Care will proudly sponsor Trojan’s Trek in its premier Queensland event.
RSL Care’s legacy with the veteran community is long and rich. They have provided services to veterans for over 75 years, opening their first veterans’ hostel in 1938. As they have grown and developed over the years to welcome all Australians who need their services, RSL Care have maintained their commitment to working with the ex-Service community.
For more information about RSL Care, visit www.rslcare.com.au
WHY? Funds are needed to continue Trojan’s Trek a program to help with the rehabilitation of young veterans returning from combat duties.
WHAT? Four different event options with prize money on offer:
1. 5km walk (families, prams, and pets on leash are welcome). Two $50 random spot prizes.
2. 5km FEMALE run. Prize of $100 for first place.
3. 5km MALE run. Prize of $100 for first place.
4. 5km TEAM OF 3 EVENT. Prize of $200 for first complete finishing team.
WHERE? River Torrens, directly north of the Torrens Parade Ground. NOTE : Parking WILL be available on the Torrens Parade Ground.
WHEN? Sunday 25 October, 2015, starting at 0930
AFTER? BBQ, coffee and big raffle prize draws.
Registration: there are TWO ways to register:
1) Snail mail. Download this PDF form, print it and fill it out then mail it.
2) Register online. Use our online form to register and pay online using either credit card or PayPal.
2015 is the seventh year of operations in SA and heralds the first year of operating in QLD. Since the first trek in 2009, the program has assisted 75 male and 16 female veterans adapt to life following deployments. These were all individuals with mental health issues resulting from service. The program outcomes have been independently gauged by two studies at UniSA and one at ACPMH, providing confirmation of our strong beliefs.
In 2014 the Foundation decided to conduct a female trek which was run in parallel to the male version. The separation was necessary because of significant differences in the issues facing women, allied with the fact that better outcomes were achievable with single sex groups. The female version was rated a success and 2015 will again see a male and female trek run in SA based at Moolooloo station in the North Flinders Ranges.
As previously mentioned a QLD trek will commence this year in August, run as a pilot trek to ascertain its viability and demand in that state. It will be based near the town of Milmerran on the Darling Downs 200 km west of Brisbane. The facilities of the QLD Sporting Shooters Association (SSAA) at Captain’s Mountain will be used as the base camp.
With the expanded program it is vital that the organisational structure is capable and a succession plan is developed, in particular to understudy key positions within the organisation. In short the 2015 commentary and highlights were:
• South Australia: The SA organisation currently consists of a Project Director, an administrative assistant and a treasurer. My overall responsibilities are to oversee the running and development of the SA and QLD treks. I am also involved in :
a. Speaking engagements to various service clubs and interested parties,
b. The provision of advice to government agencies as it relates to veteran matters,
c. Addressing the entire staff of Ward 17 at the Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne as a result of glowing reports from previous trekkers.
d. Attending fund raisers for the cause. One was a music gig at the Jade Monkey organised by one of past trekkers ($728) and another was the provision of six past trekkers who attended and assisted in the running of the Centenary of the Motor Car at Carrick Hill for Adelaide Rotary.
• Marryatville Primary School. Trojan’s Trek for two years has been the recipient of the sale of poppies made by the students of Marryatville Primary. This touching gesture has been organised by a veteran friend of the foundation, Ken Duthie. This year the project benefitted to the tune of $230.
• Uber Transport. I am pleased to report that I was contacted by Uber (the taxi organisation) who promised $1 for every taxi job on Anzac Day. Yet to materialise.
• Royalties. I also extend my thanks to John Schumann for the generous donation of the royalties from his recent CD, On Every Anzac Day.
• AEP Support. Reuben Vanderzalm through his company AEP, has offered to run the Veterans’ Support Walk on 25 October. This is our major fund raiser for the year.
• Assistant Staff. For the SA treks I have enlisted the support of two other staff who are responsible to identify, screen and fill each of the SA treks. One is based in the NT and the other in VIC.
• QLD. A QLD trek director has been appointed. He is Peter Keith who has been a facilitator with the Foundation since 2010. He is supported by an administrative assistant who was a trekker in 2011. The QLD Chapter, although independent in a fund raising sense, operates under my and board direction. Four trek staff will travel to QLD to assist and guide the first trek.
The QLD achievements to date are:
a. The formation of a team of seven individuals to load spread responsibilities,
b. A funding agreement for four years with RSL Care QLD with conditions,*
c. Media and financial support and advice from RSL QLD,
d. A close partnership with Mates4Mates QLD,
e. Excellent fund raising support from the 8/9th battalion of the RAR and the 1st Division Commander, based at Enoggera,
f. Running an annual fund raising event which was conducted this year for the second time raising $7500 approximately, and
g. Establishing a good working relationship with SSAA, National Parks and State Forestry staff.
At the field level the assessing and training of suitable individuals to assume roles during the trek is progressing well and will occur during the QLD trek. In SA and in QLD a number of past trekkers are fulfilling mentor roles and in time some will be suitable to occupy the facilitator positions.
Equipment and Assets
As a general principal, the foundation hires equipment and other necessaries rather than purchase. The foundation currently owns the following:
• 30 swags,
• 6 CB radios,
• an enclosed trailer,
• a St John’s off road first aid kit, and
• a number of bush suitable pots and pans and tables.
The swags are stored at the RAR Club at Linden Park and the trailer is stored at the home of the Camp Commandant, Colin Cogswell.
The Foundation is in a relatively sound financial position with the following balances:
• SA Chapter ANZ Trading Account $14,633.00. Westpac Term Deposit $123,853.00
*Continuing RSL Care support is conditional upon 80% of the participants showing improvement in 80% of the responses to the
4 Measuring Instruments
• QLD Chapter ANZ $12,849.00 with anticipated contribution of $60.000 from RSL Care (QLD) on 1 July. Additional financial support from RSL(QLD) is anticipated.
SA. Trojan’s Trek is open to partnerships and affiliations. Currently TT has an MOU with the RSL in SA. This is seen as beneficial to both organisations. Trojan’s Trek also retains good working relationships with a number of other companies and organisations in SA. They are:
• Adelaide Exercise Physiology,
• RSL Care SA,
• Adelaide Rotary Club, and
• Pioneer tanks.
Although no other organisations are operating in the same field with the same objectives as the Foundation, it is probable that some attempt to mirror the program could occur.
That observation is made based on the proliferation of well-meaning support groups which flourish in this space. This may tend to spread the resources more thinly and place greater pressure on funding. I look to our partners, in particular the RSL, to assume a greater more pro-active role in the product and in market education and outcomes.
This year 18 staff members will be used to run the programs. Of these the four main facilitators and the mentors are vital elements in maintaining consistent and effective delivery. Efforts continue with selection and identification of suitable staff to fulfil the succession plan. Four understudy facilitators will be assessed on the 2015 treks. I publicly extend my thanks to the staff, without whose support and skill, the program would be less effective. In short, these men and women achieve outcomes in six days which many clinicians could only dream of.
Since the commencement of the program in 09, the requirement to produce independent evidence based outcomes was recognised. To that end on each trek, four standard psycho-social measuring instruments have been administered to every trekker on three occasions. These are;
• prior to commencement,
• immediately on conclusion and
• two to three months after completion.
This sequence provides the quantitative data for later analysis. In addition, personal journals are completed on a daily or more frequent basis progressively during the trek. These provide a good measure of qualitative gains, which are also important in the measurement of outcomes. Analysis of this data by UniSA students and undergraduates on two occasions indicates the effectiveness of the program even after a period of 8 months has passed. Trojans Trek is the only program of this type which I am aware of, which measures outcomes independently.
It seems that there is a continuing demand for trek services. I anticipate that a female trek will occur in QLD in 2016 as now happens in SA. It will be necessary to review our structure and processes in the near future to cater for increased workload and staffing requirements.
The program is running well and provides valuable advice and assistance to veterans. The method of delivery is different and in many cases more effective than other means. The staff provide outstanding delivery and the results reflect that. Although the program charter does not provide for follow-up support, most of the facilitators provide a welcome shoulder to the trekkers long after the trek has concluded. In addition, social media fills a necessary link to the past enlightenment for many.
Moose Dunlop OAM
15 June 2015
John Schumann donated the artists’ royalties of I Was Only 19 to the VVAA’s Agent Orange Royal Commission fund. It was a most generous act. Now he’s doing it again for the younger diggers.
This time he’s donating the royalties from On Every Anzac Day to Trojan’s Trek, a wilderness-based program for veterans suffering from PTSD. (John Schumann is a member of the Board). The song is featured on the CD album, Behind the Lines, John Schumann and the Vagabond Crew (expanded edition).
You can buy the CD at a music store, or you can download the full CD or just the song from iTunes.
Trojan’s Trek is a program which was first run in the North Flinders Ranges of SA in the late 1990s to assist troubled Vietnam veterans return to a normal life. Participants figuratively undertake a journey, which facilitates new ways of viewing themselves, their colleagues and partners in a remote location while investigating ways to facilitate change. Some of the past trekkers have denoted this as a ‘stocktake of life, feelings and behaviour.’ The program is live-in, is highly individually focused and delivered by staff that have the necessary accreditation. More importantly they are also ‘warriors’ who have experienced and overcome the same frustrations as those attending. Trojan’s Trek provides the setting and conditions under which participants will experience a lasting positive shift in values and interpersonal relationships. ▄