During these difficult times, it makes sense to take every opportunity to make life more manageable. Many of the Foundation trekkers will be familiar with a philosophy that is part of a new way to look at life.

It is now expounded in a new publication embracing the idea of self-improvement by empowerment and understanding what happens in the brain to influence our responses.

And that’s not all, the message is this; behaviour and response can be changed for the better to enhance self and relationships if one understands the chemistry.  All that’s missing is the smell of the campfire and black tea.

Copies available on this link.

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I have written before about the generosity the Foundation receives from the community. 

It was 9 years ago after I had been interviewed by Peter Goers on radio 891 ABC Adelaide that I received a call from Tim Harper. Tim is the owner of Pioneer Tanks SA and during our chat he asked me if we hired vehicles to take the veterans to Moolooloo station for the treks.  I replied that I did after which he offered me the use of two of his company 4 WD to save the Foundation hiring charges, a significant cost.  Since that day, on every SA trek we have gratefully borrowed vehicles from his company.  Total savings in the vicinity of $15K.

And yesterday, Saturday 10 August, I spoke to the Bentley Car Owners club on a couple of subjects requested by Tim. Naturally one of the subjects was Trojan’s Trek after which the Foundation received a donation through the web site. The group, which have an interest in all things mechanical, arranged for a partly restored Series 2A Landrover, once the source of many cups of tea for the diggers compliments of the Everyman (Salvation Army) in the late 60s. The vehicle was loaned by the Military Vehicle Museum, 10 Sturton Road, Edinburgh.  A very basic piece of British engineering on display.

Thanks to a great group of fellows for your interest and conversation.    

Moose Dunlop OAM

Operations Director



This year’s trek was unusual in that it was the first time a women’s team had been included and the first such project run in Australia, perhaps the world. The decision was one carefully considered by the board and in the end it became obvious having gained the responses from a number of women that it was overdue and necessary.

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Overdue, because it was inequitable that they had been excluded to date; and necessary because it appeared that women’s needs are not considered different but lumped in with the male solutions when a separate approach was required.

One of the very useful outcomes from the male treks has been the strength of the relationships formed between trekkers. In some ways this is a side benefit from the trek, and although it was forecast to occur to some degree, the very useful and practical value of these friendships should not be underestimated. Predictably that would, and did happen among the women. However it was surprising to find that prior to the trek, many of the women lived a lonely life with few friends to share personal concerns. This was a contradiction to some conventional views regarding female habits, but on reflection it is reinforcement that women tend to “suck it up” and get on with things in spite of.

What additional aspects were necessary to cater for a female team? Should presentations be different, would the approach which had been used for the men work, could they swag it in the bush as the males had done, would the program content require review, what gender should the primary facilitators be, could it be funded and so on? These were some of the topics considered during the planning phase.

Did we get it right? Time will tell but initial assessments indicate it would seem so.

Next Trek: 21 to 26 September 2014, we need your help.

Welcome! Here at Trojan’s Trek we’ve been conducting Treks for men-only for several years. But what about women who return from combat zones?

Next year we will be doing separate men and women treks and we need your help.

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It is the opinion of trek staff that returned women have, by and large, been ignored by many organisations which provide advice and assistance following deployments. So we’re putting the call out for a women-only trek in 2014.

We need your help

If you can spare some cash, please DONATE directly to the Foundation bank account. The details are:

Trojans Trek Foundation Limited

BSB 015 367  Account number 382 585 648. 

Or send a cheque to The Treasurer, Trojan’s Trek Foundation, C/- 135 Upper Sturt Rd, Upper Sturt SA, 5156

Or via PayPal or credit card. See the DONATE button in our side bar.

All donations are tax deductible via the Trojan’s Trek Foundation.

If you can help us further develop our programme then please read on.

We recognise that women have different needs and combined with the all-inclusive roles which they now fulfil it is obvious that they will suffer similar illnesses to the men. There are however differences both psychological and physiological which will predicate against a one size fits all program for both.

So we need help. Can you assist with the content and development of a female version of Trojan’s Trek ?

It is to this end that we seek input from women with military experience who can contribute to the development of a program for females.

Trek dates are 21 to 26 September, 2014.
Attendance is free ex-Adelaide although assistance is available in some cases.
The trek aim and objectives are contained in the 2013 Report.

If you have suggestions, know someone who should attend  or know someone who would contribute, please contact

Mark Keynes   0487 453 488 or

Please note: The trek is more a journey in the head than on the ground.

Please see our FAQ for more information or do not hesitate to call Moose

Is outdoor peer support valuable? Measuring the success of Trojan’s Trek

Ms Kendall Bird recently presented the findings of her Masters project looking at the efficacy of Trojan’s Trek as an intervention method. Her thesis, entitled Contemporary Veterans’ Experience of a Peer Outdoor Support Therapy (POST) Program’ was presented at the Australiasian Military Medicine Association National Conference in Adelaide on Nov 2nd 2013.

Her abstract will be published in the Proceedings from the conference in the next edition of the Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health (JMVH). The full research article and results are due to be published in a Special Edition on Australian Mental Health early in 2014, with a review of POST programs approved to be published in the Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health. Kendall is a Provisional Psychologist currently completing her Masters of Psychology (Clinical) at the University of South Australia. Here she tells us about her findings

There’s something to be said for a program which attracts contemporary veterans and leaves a lasting impression on its participants. Even more so, when many other alternatives discover that attracting participants to any form of therapy is an uphill battle.

In embarking on my Masters’ thesis; an evaluation of Trojan’s Trek, I wasn’t sure what I was going to find when looking beyond the positive verbal testimonies. I have been reminded that effecting change to one’s life when you’re suffering; is deeper, more meaningful and more complex than just receiving one type of quick therapy.

The fundamental question was: “Is outdoor, remote, peer support a valuable adjunct to therapy for veterans?“
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If the majority of services offered in Australia are either one-to-one (professional to individual) or in a group setting (professional to many); what can a peer-to-peer approach add? It appears, quite a lot.

Studies in the USA have found that veterans mentoring veterans is more meaningful and carries more weight than mentoring among non-veterans. In addition, this form of mentoring maintains veteran engagement and increases their access to other mental health services (Travis et al, 2010; Greden et al, 2010). The USA, Canada and the UK all have peer-based services for veterans in some form, and in Canada this approach is integrated into the Veterans’ National Health Services.

Having completed my thesis using results from the men who participated in South Australia’s Trojan’s Trek, I found there was a substantial shift and sustained improvement in their self-reported mental health and wellbeing (depression, anxiety, stress, life satisfaction, self-efficacy) maintained even two months after completing the Trek. In general, the veterans commenced the trek with extremely low wellbeing and left with their satisfaction with life and anxiety the same as non-military people. In fact, they maintained a sense of self-ability above that of non-military, with reduced depression and stress. Now that’s impressive, this is very significant, I thought

I was also privileged to access the participant’s journals which were completed while they were on the trek. On reading these, it became clear to me that change happened for these men because they were immersed’ for six days with their peers. In addition, informal outdoor activities added to formal peer mentoring sessions strengthened the outcomes. What is vital was the shared opportunities to apply skills and self-reflection and feel understood by others in not only what was experienced in the past, but in looking forward to how they viewed the future.

While there will be criticisms and pitfalls to peer support, when well-managed and structured there’s something very promising about this approach; something real, something meaningful. And if it means one more veteran taking that step to seek more help, one less suicide, one more veteran who bridges that transition into finding ways to have a meaningful life post-military with a little less mental pain and panic, then it’s an approach to watch evolve and spread as an adjunct to other therapies.
As one participant quoted: Really, what some of us have done is put into practice a lot of concepts our medical practitioners have been talking to us about.’

By Ms. Kendall Bird


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It was a beautiful day for a walk as more than 200 supporters gathered on the banks of the Torrens Lake opposite the Torrens Parade Ground for the third Veterans’ Support Walk. With 20 sponsor logos emblazoned on their shirts they set off on the word of Graham Cornes.

Among the anxious dogs and striding mob was Liz Scarce, Ian Kelly and friends I had not seen for some considerable time. Peter Goers provided encouragement to the walkers and the sausage sizzle team from 9 RAR.

At the completion of the walk the raffle was drawn; the BIG TV going to John O’Shannesy with its smaller cousin won by Greg Hallam, the trek paramedic who had joined us from Stawell in Victoria. The Dulux voucher was won by another lucky punter who remains nameless.

After coffee and a yarn the group wandered over to the parade ground for the DVA Health Expo.

I extend my sincere thanks to you all for your support of the program.

Moose Dunlop OAM

Veteran’s Support Walk 2013

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Supported by :


INVITATION. Veterans and friends, here is an opportunity to directly support an initiative which assists younger veterans while enjoying a stroll around the beautiful River Torrens.

WHY. Not only will the event provide funds to ensure the continuation of this worthwhile project, it encourages regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.

WHAT. A choice of 5km or 3km routes, either of which may be completed by walking, running or rolling. Families, prams, and pets on leash are welcomed.

WHERE. River Torrens, directly north of the Torrens Parade Ground.

NOTE : Parking WILL be available on the Torrens Parade Ground.

WHEN. Sunday 20 October, starting at 0930 hrs. Cornsey will MC the event.

AFTER. BBQ, coffee and amazing prize draws. Also visit the DVA expo on the parade ground.

Registration: there are THREE ways to registers.

1) Snail mail. Download this form as a pdf fill it out and mail it.

2) Email. Download a word file, fill it out online online and email it

3) Register online. Use our online form to register and pay online using either credit card or PayPal





This trek was the fourth in the current series to support contemporary veterans. By that I mean post Vietnam. A number of individuals have asked me why the focus has changed to target veterans post Vietnam. The answer is simple. The first concerns the impact of age as it relates to the ability of the participants to change their behaviour and life style. Many of the veterans we help, live a life style which does not generally conform to community norms. Many appear to live for today only; and many exhibit choices which are not conducive to a healthy life-style. To convince these veterans that there are other more productive life styles is one of our objectives. It is not easy and it is even harder with older veterans.

Briefing before going bush

Is it possible to teach an old dog new tricks? The answer is probably not often, so we try to avoid non productive, rusted on clients. However, in the past few years we have taken a number of Vietnam vets away with their younger successors. The experience has been both educational and enlightening. In some cases, the older veteran did not contribute but in some they have acted as a catalyst to facilitate a depth of group discussion much earlier than normally expected. In the case of the 2012 trek this was a standout. It was because the older veteran had come to grips with his condition and life’s foibles and was prepared to speak frankly about the challenges which face individuals in the same position as he was some 45 years ago.

What is the impact of such honesty and the stripping back of the confidentiality which normally accompanies this condition or circumstance? In a word; startling. The response from the other trekkers was un-mistakably supportive. Often it is helpful to compare what doing it tough is about. Whether is it listening to the station owners relate their personal experiences about the difficulties of living in the bush or to one of the group relate their own story. The other benefit of the sharing experience is simply a halving of the problem. As a consequence it is common for relationships which commence in the bush to blossom in the city. And that results in veteran to veteran support during tough times. That is a winner. Trojan’s Trek is not a cure all; we have never advanced that theory. However, as Dogs rightly preaches, “we are farmers, we simply sow the seeds to a better life.” Furthermore we are patently aware that most will face further ups and downs as time passes. The difference is that the veteran is no longer alone and he has the toolbox from which he can extract a solution.

Moose Dunlop OAM

The story of the logo

The logo which we have adopted at Trojan’s Trek depicts the Flinders Ranges. The Flinders is where the program is conducted. It is the place of choice to which we withdraw to gain the tranquillity so necessary for our program. The sharp brown lines are a reminder of the many billions of years of ageing which have resulted in the ancient forms peculiar to that part of the world. The background to its design is worthy of note.

When Operation Flinders, a youth at risk program, was started in 1992, the partner of one of the wonderfully dedicated supporters, offered to come up a design for a logo. John, a very talented and artistic fellow produced the logo above. The staff all agreed that it was beautifully appropriate. We appreciated its horizontal perspective which conveyed distance, the big red gums, the creek lines and the sharp brown edges, the old hills. For many years it featured on the T shirts we presented to the participants and was also used as a masthead and as a letterhead.

In about 1996, the program was recognised for the great work it was achieving with youth and it was decided to incorporate. A board was elected and a CEO appointed. However, with the introduction of new management and different ideas there were moves to change some aspects of the project. The logo was one of the first to be changed. The field staff were not consulted nor impressed, but like many decisions made in these circumstances, it was a done deal. The new logo is fine and comparisons are pointless. However, John’s original logo was benched.

In 2009, when Trojans Trek was resurrected to cater for our contemporary veterans, that is those who served in combat roles post Vietnam; it seemed totally appropriate that the Operation Flinders old logo was given a new life. John was consulted and willingly agreed to our adoption of it. So the logo has been given new life and role. The logo has returned to the Flinders and is now part of a new venture which is managed by many of the individuals who commenced Operation Flinders so many years ago.