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August 19, 2010
A VICTORY for the Wagga Wagga community will be
realised on October 12 when the RAAF Base Wagga
Heritage Centre is formally opened to the public.
CAF AIRMSHL Mark Binskin announced the
event during the RAAF Base Wagga 70th anniversary
parade on July 29.
"The Heritage Centre will play an important role
in reflecting the proud connection between the RAAF
base and the Wagga Wagga community which began
70 years ago," AIRMSHL Binskin said.
"A crucial aspect of this project has been the
strong community support, both in the development
phase and preparing for the opening.
"Local residents have volunteered to help manage
and staff the centre. More than 20 volunteers have
undertaken Certificate II training in Museum Practice
at the TAFE NSW Riverina Institute, and over half of
these are also undertaking Certificate IV training," he
said.Additionally, the managerial staff have received
professional training and advice from the RAAF
Refurbishment of the building, the design and
development of displays and fit-out of display rooms
are reportedly on schedule.
The centre will be managed by a committee of
Air Force and community members, while a steer-
ing group also comprising Air Force and commu-
nity members will provide longer-term oversight and
Initially, the Heritage Centre will be open
three days per week, on Saturdays, Sundays and
Wednesdays; however, it may expand its opening
days if there is public demand and if sufficient volun-
teer workers are available to support more days.
go back on
Role model graduates from recruit training
AS THE personnel of RAAF
Base Wagga prepared to
celebrate the base's distin-
guished past, one new airman
was celebrating the start of his
AC Greg Saunders was
one of the recruits to graduate
from 1 Recruit Training Unit
(1RTU) on July 28 -- the day
before celebrations kicked off
for the 70th anniversary of the
base and the reformation of
No. 31 (City of Wagga Wagga)
AC Saunders, from the
small town of Mooroopna in
country Victoria, joined the Air
Force through the Indigenous
Pre Recruitment Program, and
hasn't looked back since.
"After Mooroopna High
School I tried landscape gar-
dening and then worked in
Telstra as a telecoms technician
for six years," AC Saunders
said. "But Mooroopna is a
small country town, so the
opportunities were limited, and
I was getting older.
"Then I heard about the
Indigenous recruiting course
which was running in Sydney.
"It teaches you the basics,
things like drill and discipline,
Wagga, I'd already got the idea
of it and started thinking about
making a career [out of the Air
AC Saunders has now start-
ed the next step in that career --
airfield defence guard training
at RAAF Base Amberley.
"I'm specialising as an
airfield defence guard -- one of
the people who defend the air-
field itself," he said. "It's a bit
like the Air Force's own army."
He said he's looking for-
ward to returning home to
Mooroopna at Christmas to
"show off his uniform".
"I'll be telling the young
people what can be done if you
step outside the box," he said.
"This time last year I never
thought I'd be a role model."
He shares his surname
with Reg Saunders, the first
Aboriginal man to become an
Army officer (he was promoted
to lieutenant in November
"My sister Mandy and I
wondered about that," AC
"She's checking the family
tree. It would be great if there
was some connection."
with his fellow
recruits on their
Photo: LAC Terry
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