Partnering with RSL Queensland, Point & Shoot travelled north to Brisbane and Townsville in 2023.
We know firsthand veterans need to be interacting with their communities to keep that strong sense of belonging they had during military service. Through this exhibition, we grow societies maturity and understanding of service and combat while helping eliminate the stigma veterans can feel about their experiences.
We encourage you to take the time to appreciate the images and stories and have a quiet moment of contemplation for those men and women who serve and sacrifice for this great country.
This photo was taken on the evening of Anzac Day at the end of a successful, five day operation to liberate the town of Gizab, in the north of Uruzghan Provice, of Taliban control.
After a good couple of days of fighting, then a few days of relative “quiet”, we were keen to get back to the FOB and reset.
Michael Aitken – Gizab, Afghanistan, 2010
Following our training exercise in Shoalwater Bay, I along with other National Service Men was deployed to Terendak Garrison, Malacca, replacing the Regular Service Men of 4 RAR who were redeployed to Vietnam.
The image is after a long hot training exercise in the jungle.
Ken Bailey – Malaysia, 1967-68
Practicing our snow landings during Operation Pakistan Assist we took the opportunity to jump out and take some photos. This one was the clear standout favourite, that we later donated to the Australian War Memorial.
(Image captured by SGT Shane Reid)
Rod Henderson – Kagan Valley Pakistan, 2005.
An Australian Army soldier from 3rd Brigade Headquarters provides security from a Protected Mobility Vehicle while on Exercise Silicon Brolga at Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland.
Riley Blennerhassett – Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland. 2023
Rocky was one of the standout Afghan Soldiers in the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team who would always lead from the front and took pride in his Dragunov Sniper Rifle.
Rocky had experienced unbelievable trauma during his time in the ANA, which eventually led to his imprisonment after we left. I fondly remember the character Rocky was at this stage in his life and often wonder what happened to the ANA soldiers we served alongside.
Sean O’Loughlin – Afghanistan, 2010
The vehicle graveyard was never covered and a stark reminder of the tough times.
You drove past it on departure for your next mission, always reinforcing the threat and your purpose.
Anonymous – Afghanistan MRTF-2. 2009
This image was taken near the famous battlefields of Henderson Field and Bloody Ridge.
We spent plenty of time here in our first few weeks getting used to working in the humidity. I vividly remember the intense heat walking into the Kunai grass for the first time. Growing up watching the movie “The Thin Red Line” based on battles in this same area, all I could think was how horrendous it must have been trying to fight in this environment.
Alex Ormerod – Betikama, Solomon Islands, 2012
Standing on top of an Iraqi Tank looking back down the Valley of Death.
Deep in thought, trying to understand what I was looking at, this image represents those experiences we all have, but are rarely captured. When surreal moments present themselves and you are just a mere observer to something much bigger than you.
Daniel Williams – Kuwait, 1991
Aussie soldiers assaulting targets in a foreign Urban Ops Training Facility. The contrast between the still and the movement as well as the green and the shadows, captures the moment.
Nadav Harel – Singapore, 2022
I was only 19 years old when I got home from Vietnam.
I finished my 3 years voluntary service then went back to working in the mines at which time I got drafted to serve in the Army under National Service. When I failed to report for enlistment I was arrested, but later released after the president of the local RSL pointed out to the Police I had already served 3 years in the Army and been to Vietnam.
Barry Butler – Vietnam, 1968
The power of artillery is something that needs to be felt to be appreciated. To see the force shockwave distort the ground on which you stand and have the dust dance in response leaves a lasting memory.
Anonymous – FOB Wali, Afghanistan. 2012
On my first trip to Afghanistan we went out into the field for about six weeks at a time, mostly in eastern Afghanistan on the Pakistan border, talking to the villagers and searching for the remnants of Al Qaeda.
I snapped this image of a nomadic Kuchis family, known to travel long distances from the Afghanistan mountains to the valley of the Indus. With all their belongings, they were likely in search of an area with more food for their animals.
Mark Direen – Afghanistan, 2002.
A 2nd Commando Regiment sniper preparing an in depth firing position, through multiple apertures in the fight against ISIS.
This picture was taken in a controlled scenario but represents the isolated and small team environments that the Special Operation Snipers often work in.
John Dixon – Iraq, 2015.
This image was taken on-board an Australian submarine conducting special operations at the height of the Cold War.
An impromptu selfie, taken with an oscilloscope polaroid camera, captures the pulse of the submarine and the larrikin sensor operator and his ‘spook’ colleague. The contrast in facial expressions portrays the seriousness of keeping the submarine safe in potentially hostile waters, against the instinctive sense of optimism that pervades the hardship experienced on prolonged submarine patrols.
Dave Gilbert – On patrol in foreign waters. 1985
This was taken at an old Iraqi airfield that 1Sqn SASR had just taken over. When the Iraqi military left they abandoned a lot of equipment including aircraft, artillery, trucks and a fully functioning airbase. Some of the captured equipment the Squadron used as target practice, this one a soviet BRDM, amphibious armoured scout car.
We were dressed for desert fighting due to the extreme weather we encountered with daytime temperatures reaching high 40s.
JR, Iraq, 2003
‘Hurry Up and Wait’
In my Army career, and especially as a 17 year old apprentice, a lot of time was spent waiting for the next thing to happen. Usually in cold locations. Waiting for transport. Waiting for an activity to start. No screens to keep up busy. Just ourselves and a good sense of humour.
Stephen Giles – Mt Pilot Training Area Beechworth Victoria. 1991
The front wheels came off the ground when they went to go, so as the machine gunners carrying the most weight, they were told to sit on the bonnet to get the front wheels back on the ground.
Damien Schofield – Vietnam, 1970
The image displays an Australian soldier in an unknown depth of jungle environment, working alongside a foreign ally, using a weapon system outside of their comfort zone and away from friends and family. A usual circumstance which soldiers commit themselves to, in order to protect and serve the nation.
Guy Sadler – Brunei, 2022
The ADF suffered casualties that were unprecedented at the time.
We constructed a small memorial where would conduct ceremonies to commemorate those we lost. These were the only moments we could get due to the high tempo of operations. Although brief they were very meaningful.
Julian Hohnen – Patrol Base Qudus, Baluchi Valley, Afghanistan, 2010
A great moment in the history of 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment,
In a final send off to the RSM and CO, the Pipes and Drums of the Battalion flew in on two CH-47 Chinook helicopters to play the tune “Pack of Bastards” in honour of the command teams great leadership over their tenure at the unit. This was arranged by the soldiers themselves.
Brandon Grey – Townsville Field Training Area, Qld, 2021.
A brief stopover in Al Salman for vehicle 11D from Combat Team Courage during a patrol from Camp Terendak, Tallil Air Base to the border of Saudi Arabia. The locals were very hospitable and welcomed us with chai and cold Pepsi and Coke. Before leaving town, we visited a well-known abandoned prison.
John Hetherington – Iraq, 2007
While it is easy to appreciate the natural beauty in this scene, for me, the beauty lies in the memory of the discipline and dedication of these men. Their tireless professionalism, unfailing good humour and humanity, even in the darkest of moments.
I was never prouder to be an Australian. To serve among such men was to serve among giants.
Shannon Murney – Mirabad Valley, Afghanistan, 2011.
It was on this deployment I felt the greatest sense of purpose in the grey cams contributing to Boarding Operations in the Middle East Region.
I hold this deployment close to my heart as I learned so much including the type of war-fighter I wanted to be, and the kind of person I didn’t want to be. This image symbolises hard work, purpose and passion for the job.
Samuel Hicks – Middle East Region, 2018.
Only a few things interrupt vehicle servicing. Taking a break to open mail from Australia including my hometown newspaper, the Namoi Valley Independent from Gunnedah, NSW.
The smell of grease, the taste of a hot can of coke and the sound of Willie Nelson on the tape player come flooding back as I take in all the tiny details in this image.
Ben Horton – Timor Leste, 1999
The image shows myself, far left, and my Infantry students enjoying a Sports Afternoon. I was an RAAEC Instructor and these soldiers undertook Australian-standard courses to become eligible for promotion to Senior NCO level or higher.
Instruction in the classroom was in English, usually the students’ third language. Outside the classroom, conversation was often in Tok Pisin and friendships were formed over many a sporting and social event.
(Image c/- Boyd Robertson)
Greg Ivey – Vanimo, Papua New Guinea, 1970
An intensive live fire training exercise to test the 6 RAR battalion snipers. Each shooter had to enter the field firing box, find a position to engage a target, make the shot and extract themselves all without being seen. Most failed on their first and even second attempts. To get a slight height advantage one shooter climbed onto a bullant mound, took the shot, hit the target and extracted without being seen, before collapsing from Anaphylactic shock, due to the hundreds of bites he’d sustained on the mound.
Cameron Simpkins – Wide Bay Training Area, Qld, 1989
Moving troops around Vietnam, let alone a concert party was a battle on its own. Travel was by whatever means were available at the time.
Our Queensland concert party led by Wilson Irving arrived but could only go to Vung Tau because a large battle was taking place between Vung Tau and Nui Dat. After the fighting was over, Wilson and his party made it to Nui Dat to see the boys were not forgotten. It was a pleasure to see someone from home who put laughter on our faces.
Des Kearton – Nui Dat, Vietnam, 1968
A Kill and Capture mission on a well-known high level Taliban commander. When we landed we were engaged immediately and spent the whole day clearing the village in contact. My patrol had been on the move without sleep for 72 hours when this photo was taken.
This SASR 6 man team had been in another province just 1 hour earlier, conducting an SR mission on a different Taliban person of interest.
Jordan McCallum – Afghanistan, 2007
Being part of the Anti Tank Platoon one of our duties was to escort supply convoys down from Saigon to Vung Tau town on the coast .
This day as we travelled down the highway I noticed this motorcycle with two female passengers. I took out my camera, smiled at the girls and they smiled back. Later on I thought that this was a great photo as it had meaning; a smile amongst strangers in the middle of a war.
Roger King – Saigon Hwy to Vung Tau, Vietnam, 1968
‘IED Close Call’
This image was taken after we narrowly escaped an IED blast, targeting our foot patrol. The bomb was full of ball bearings and shredded the wall and trees in the area.
Laughing about our brush with death, here I am kissing my lucky ring, which served me well on all patrols.
Sean O’Loughlin – Baluchi Valley, Afghanistan, 2010
In sub zero conditions this young, cold shepherd boy approached our callsign as he tendered to his flock in just sandals. Our boots and clothes were too big for him so we made him a brew and gave him our winter weight socks for mittens.
Anonymous – Afghanistan. 2009
The aftermath of the Suicide Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attack by a truck. The attack occurred at ‘The Flats’ located next to the (then) Australian Embassy in the ‘Red Zone’ of Baghdad. If they had planned it better they probably could have collapsed the building that day. It was certainly a bit of a turning point for the ADF and the way we did business in Iraq.
Harry – Baghdad, Iraq, 2005.
An Australian Army ‘Guardian Angel’ watching on whilst providing security during a training activity. The smoke and low sun combine to create a dramatic skyline.
Anonymous – Taji, Iraq, 2019
I remember being with D Company for Christmas Day ‘68. They marched us out to an open area with the MP’s. When they took our weapons off us, we thought that they were going to let us have a drink.
Alas, that wasn’t the case, we were only there about an hour. Long enough to get a choc milk and a hot feed before back to patrolling the jungle.
Barry Butler – Vietnam, 1968
I clearly remember the first lesson Troop Sergeant Dave Nary taught me; “think for yourself”. Be inquisitive and adapt to your current situation. Don’t just accept the way things are and never be afraid to ask why, a characteristic that served me well for the next 15 years in Afghanistan and as a team leader 6 years later.
Sgt Dave Nary was killed in a training accident in Kuwait on the 6 November 2005.
Mark Direen – Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, 2002.
Military Working Dogs (MWDs) have trained and fought alongside men in combat as far back as written records exist.
Here MWD Quincy, a Belgian Malinois, is training to bite and hold a decoy playing the role of an enemy combatant. His brother MWD Quake gave his life protecting his handler during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2012.
Brendan Allen – RAAF Base Amberley, 2009
A group photo of V2 and elements of Support Company from 3 RAR at the end of a range practice at an Iraqi Military Base as part of SECDET IX.
This was the first of two visits to the base from our compound at the Cove in Baghdad.
John Hetherington – Kirkush, Iraq, 2006
Due to the heat of the day, our adversary elected to operate at night and so reverse cycle operations became our new normal. Weeks on end would be spent barely seeing daylight.
Despite the gruelling tempo, no one complained, in part thanks to the efforts of the man in this picture.
One of my section commanders, he consistently led by example, setting a strong standard for his team. I could not think of a more appropriate image to capture this, back turned to the sun, walking with purpose into the dark.
Shannon Murney – Mirabad Valley, Afghanistan, 2011
This was taken on our way to Honiara to begin our 5 month deployment as part of the RAMSI mission. For many of us, this was our first deployment and something we’d worked hard for, so being on the plane felt like the final hurdle to reach that goal of getting a trip.
As soon I got onto that C-17 and saw the flag, I knew I had to capture this moment.
Alex Ormerod – Solomon Islands. 2012
Providing overwatch on a snap vehicle check point amid intelligence of a suspected Taliban VBIED looking to target coalition forces.
While others would search vehicles and or people movement, inquisitive kids always wanted to say hello and ask for things. I made sure to carry a pocket full of sweets to hand out.
Matthew Morris – Afghanistan. 2008
Sitting on the ramp of the Chinook in Zabul Province preparing to land at a Forward Operating Base. I like this photo because it clearly shows my helmet patch that adds a little humour to an otherwise serious situation
(Image captured by John Hunter Farrell)
Rod Henderson – Afghanistan, 2012
Located on the eastern Afghan border with Pakistan, this Al-Qaeda cave was positioned so that doctors from Pakistan could visit to treat Al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan. I was told that Osama bin Laden visited the base regularly before fleeing to Pakistan to hide.
Mark Direen – Afghanistan, 2002
On posting to Malaysia and attached to 478 Sqn RAAF. On completion of an “E” servicing to a Dasault Mirage, it was decided by the OIC that a group photo should be taken of the servicing team.
An engine run was always carried out following the service. Team personnel wearing kidney belts were required to stand on the wing area during the test to check for any suspected hydraulic leaks.
Roy Brooks – Malaysia, 1976
Our deployment to the Philippines was about training the Philippine Army. However, I found out very soon after arriving they were more interested in welcoming us into their culture.
Private Rhys Agius from the 3rd Battalion stands for a prayer alongside Phillipine soldiers before stepping off on a culminating mission. This image sums up the trust and relationships you can forge with vastly different people in such a short timeframe.
Daniel Sallai – Nueva Ecija, Philippines, 2022
11 years in the military and 7 in the SASR. With deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, my time in East Timor still remains some of my most meaningful.
Visiting remote villages, running medical clinics, saving lives and talking with locals you really felt like you were making a difference. The memories are still vivid. Would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Grant Rushby – East Timor, 2001
This image was taken during a nine day operation training and mentoring Iraqi troops. Many civilans aren’t aware when the infantry or cavalry deployed there was almost always a RAEME maintenance element deployed in support, fully trained as a soldier first and tradie second.
Here you see the rear three vehicles from a typical convoy, an ASLAV fitters variant upfront with HIAB crane for field repairs, an R series Mack wrecker with two 13 tonne winches and the final, a type 1 gun vehicle to provide rear protection.
RAEME soldiers from OBG(W)-2 – Dhiqar Province, Iraq, 2007
Being a part of the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team saw us living amongst the Afghan Soldiers and local population. We knew the locals by name and were often invited for chai. On this patrol, the kids caught fish in the river and had prepared a feast within the space of 20-30 minutes.
My mate Nathaniel Gallagher “Gal” can be seen in the back of the photo, enjoying the break on patrol. Gal would be KIA on his next deployment back to Afghanistan.
Sean O’Loughlin – Baluchi Valley, Afghanistan, 2010
This image sums up the sheer firepower and lethality an Infantry Battalion can produce organically.
This particular demonstration was designed to educate Junior Commanders of the 3rd Battalion what our internal support assets are capable of and how to effectively utilise them on the battlefield.
There is no other Corps in the Tri-Service that can coordinate and inflict so much accurate firepower while looking this good at the same time.
Daniel Sallai – Townsville Field Training Area, Qld, 2022
F-111C A8-148 engine start using an explosive cartridge. The aircraft is loaded out with a live and inert Mk-82 500lb bombs.
The black gases from the starter cartridge are created using carbon granules so the ground crew can view and observe their drift and move away from the toxic cloud emitted. A cartridge start is an event not often conducted.
Gordon Ross – RAAF Base East Sale, Vic, 1978
An image of my father Kerry Schofield that hung in our kitchen on the family farm growing up.
Dad was on an ambush above some rice fields, getting cover by the rocks and bush. Thinking they had not been seen, they were surprised to find notes on dead VC from farmers working the fields that “Australian Soldiers were hiding in the hills”.
On a family trip to Vietnam in 2000 Dad pointed out the same rock where the photo had been taken. His excitement reliving the story will stay with me forever.
Damien Schofield – Long Hia Mountains, Vietnam, 1970
A controlled detonation of a large IED, dwarfing the two Bushmaster Fighting Vehicles.
The likely IED location was identified by a 2nd Commando Regiment Reconnaissance Team, noting the hard worn foot pad leading straight to the site from the local village.
John Dixon – Afghanistan, 2009.
It was at this cliff in the background, according to local Timorese, that Australian coast watchers camped during World War II as a means of staying hidden from Japanese forces while they relayed enemy shipping movements.
As the first Australian Officer to visit the area since 1945, this was a significant moment.
Michael Tyquin – Oecussi, Timor Leste, 2008
Growing up with the knowledge that my great uncle had been a Horsa glider pilot who deployed on D Day and Operation Market Garden with the British Paras in WW2, I had always wanted to be a paratrooper myself. I acheived this in 1989. Behind me in this image, taken on Exercise Canopy Tudor with 3RAR, is a TV news crew after the first wave of paratroopers to jump were hit with high winds in excess of 30 knots. There were many injuries as soldiers blew into powerlines, buildings and vehicles across the drop zone.
Simon Brooks – Nowra, NSW, 1991
I remember approaching the washout. The IED threat was high. I turned my gun off to the side and adopted the ‘two-footed landing position’, as I did each time we rolled through a suspect passage of road. The car inched down into the dry creek-bed and just as we reached the bottom, everything exploded into spaceless silence. The next thing I knew I was sitting back in my turret position in the vehicle and there was an engine on the ground. I hadn’t blacked out, but for a minute I’d lost all memory.
Anonymous – Afghanistan, 2007
In late November a gunman wearing an Afghan army uniform shot and killed three Australian soldiers, an Afghan interpreter and wounded seven other diggers. This attack led to a busy end to the deployment.
Anonymous – Afghanistan, 2011
This image was taken at the end of Talisman Sabre 2019 flying out of Rockhampton back home to Tassie.
I’d been in the field for weeks and done so many extraordinary things. With only my memories as proof I wanted at least one picture to capture this experience.
Ash Werner – Rockhampton, Qld, 2019
Members of Clearance Diving Team 3 travelling the Iraqi border to collect a Silkworm Missile.
With no desert cams and a mismatch of uniforms, we were unprepared in most ways to be on the world stage. But in true Aussie spirit we accomplished what only Aussies can do when faced with adversity. I chose the SLR as my personal weapon as it reminded me of the stories I read of Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam.
Daniel Williams – Kuwait, 1991
Members of the 1st Battalion Battle Group farewelling their mate, 22 year old, Private Benjamin Ranaudo, who was killed by an IED while on operations north of Tarin Kowt.
Remembered as a professional, well liked soldier who served with distinction, Members of coalition forces lined the road to the runway where the plane was waiting to take Ben home.
c/- Defence Imagery – Afghanistan, 2009
Oh, the smells of Asian villages…sweat, dust & rotting vegetation pervading the camp. But as a young lad I was keen to take it all in.
On my first payday I bought an Instamatic camera and began clicking away to document my experiences, even when ‘beyond the wire’. These images and diaries I subsequently wrote are now fond memories.
Al Wood – Nui Dat, Vietnam, 1968
‘Kid on a Wire’
I took this image from inside my tent under the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ at our base in Balibo.
I was taking a few test shots of people walking past when this kid spotted me and stopped. I’ve recently been back to this same spot and it reminds me just how kind and forgiving the Timorese are.
Anonymous – Timor Leste, 2000
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