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The History of the Association Inc | 106 Field Workshop

Who the Association represented

The 106 Fd Wksp RAEME Assoc Inc was a non-profit association formed in 2004 for personnel who had served on active duty with the workshop at Nui Dat in South Vietnam between the 1st November 1968 and the 7th October 1971. 106 was then under command of the 1st Australian Task Force, a fighting formation of brigade size. The foundation members were not just RAEME personnel, but also the supporting soldiers from RAAMC, RAAOC and AACC.

The ordinary membership was later changed to encompass not only the SVN veteran members but also all of any Corps, male or female, who had served in 106 Fd Wksp or 106 descendant Army successor elements based in Australian locations. Naturally, the membership eligibility covered those or who had served in 106 Fd Wksp 7 CSSB since it became a retitled sub-unit in 2013.

What were the Objects of the Association?

  • To bring honour on 106 and to keep alive the memory of our departed
  • To make contact with members and provide a means for them to keep in touch and share their experiences
  • To foster unit gatherings and reunions, and as opportunity arises, join in events with fraternal organizations
  • To record and promote the past and present history of 106 - not only to tell stories but to provide a window on experiences for family members of 106ers  and all those who would tread in their path.
  • To provide and maintain this web site.
  • To foster contacts with other RAEME units and fraternal organizations and to assist them where possible.

Background to forming The Association

In 2003 a group of veterans, who had served with 106 Field Workshop RAEME on active service in the South Vietnam conflict, decided to organize a major reunion in Brisbane over the 2004 ANZAC Day Weekend. With Phillip Bond at the helm, their efforts resulted in the Gathering of RAEME, 2004, not only for veterans of 106 but for all-serving and past members of the Corps of RAEME including those of RAAMC, RAAOC and AACC who served in RAEME Units.

The Gathering involved activities over three days including the ANZAC Day March under the auspices of The RAEME Association of Queensland. For the March, The Prince Phillip Corps Banner was paraded publicly for the first time, the Banner Guard being drawn from serving RAEME. Attendance varied from 400 to over 500 and was an outstanding success. The major success was that it brought together, in many cases unexpectedly, mates (ex regulars and national servicemen) from all over Australia and overseas and from many walks of life; mates who had not seen each other for decades.

There were many requests for this event not to be left as a one off. There was a strong desire for a series of future events, and not only in Queensland. Likewise there was a desire to strengthen the community of 106 veterans, of whatever Corps, and to create lasting and cooperative ties with other fraternal associations and groups. The team that planned the Gathering had informally formed themselves into an Association for insurance and related matters.

The team involved with The Gathering of RAEME used the surplus moneys from the Gathering and the sale of memorabilia as seed funds to arrange for a formalised Association to be formed under Queensland Law and incorporated nationally under ASIC supervised regulations.

A SVN themed historical website was a priority development largely through the efforts of members John Sinclair, Milton Pearson, Dennis Norman and Elmer Varga.

Following incorporation, highly successful reunions were conducted biennially.

Management Committee Profile

The Association was registered on 21 May 2004 with Frank Maloney as President and Phillip Bond, as Principal Officer acting as Secretary/Treasurer. Phillip Bond retained the position of Secretary/Treasurer throughout the life of the Association.

John Strachan assumed the presidency in 2005 and retained this post until wind up in 2018.

Milton Pearson (VIC), Claude Palmer (QLD), Dennis Norman (NSW) and John Bailey (QLD) were active members on the Management Committee throughout the life of the Association.  Other notable contributors to management over a number of years were Elmer Varga (NSW), Frank Owen (SA), Steve Cartner (WA) and Doug Goetze (SE QLD).

Patron

The Association welcomed a Patron in 2014 when the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency General The Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), graciously agreed to act in that capacity. The Patron’s last message was to the attendees of the 50th Year Reunion Dinner in Brisbane. Read his message on the last page of the 2018 Reunion Report.

Winding Up 

In 2018 a SGM was conducted where it was decided by members to wind up the Association – due to member ageing factors.  The activities of the 106 Association will remain part of the history of 106; in particular, by initiating this website, 106’s past war service activities have been recorded for posterity and, as the website will remain intact under RAEME Association Queensland management, future history of 106 will continue to be recorded.

Arte et Marte