103 Medium Battery 1975
Laurie Skinner in Vietnam
3.7 inch Mark 3 Heavy Anti Aircraft Gun - Live Firing North Head Manly
No 53 of 1974 Gun Course - School of Artillery 1974
Anti Aircraft Radar No 3 Mark 7
Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery, Memorial, Canberra ACT
25 Pounder New Guinea 1944





By Ronald Bastian.

Around 1959, 1st Field Regiment, headed up to the warmer regions in Far North Queensland to a place called "Coulston's Gap", around 40 miles short of Sarina. The exercise was named GRAND SLAM" . Coulston's Gap was just before the cane fields, but our "area of operation" was "Natural" bush and with it ,a cursed grass called "Spear Grass" which penetrated clothing and even leather but worst of all, if it got into the skin it festered up and caused nasty sores.

One day a few of us went for a scout into the bush and came across a small creek with crystal clear running water, so clear, you could see the pebbles on the bottom around 4 feet down. This, we decided would be our own little "secret" swimming hole.

Every time we came back to camp after a day on the back of trucks, covered with dust in every pore in our skin, we quietly grabbed our soap and towel and slipped quietly to our aquatic destination.

As soon as we decided to use this as a swimming hole, we found a fallen tree and dropped it into the centre over another tree that was already in the water. This was necessary as the bank was steep and it allowed easy access to the centre of the creek to dive from.

One day we arrived in late afternoon only a day or so after having a group outdoor lecture about the deadly Taipan snake that is native to this particular region. The snake "guru" was none other that Ram Chandra, a well know Queensland herpetologist and the equivalent to our own Eric Worrell based in NSW. Ram Chandra pulled snakes from several bags while we stood, eyes bulging and moving further back with each specimen he extracted from his bags.

So, on this particular day, late afternoon, we stripped off, walked along the tree to the centre and dived in. When everyone was in someone looked back at the old tree in the water, and, slithering out of a hole in that tree was an extremely healthy "BLACK SNAKE".    We quickly devised a plan, I was to get out by climbing up the bank, grapping my machete and while balancing along the tree branch, chop the snake and kill it. Well, the idea was good only, when I got close enough and swung the blade down it moved so that I only chopped it half way through.....WELL!!

You should have seen that waterhole empty out, the guys moved so fast as the "CUT SNAKE" fell into the water with them, the water resembled a turbulence that a 100 HP outboard would leave behind it.

Bottom line.......we never...ever.....went back to our "secret" little oasis again.

The photo below shows the place in question and you may even be able to "Make out" the  hole in the vertical branch where the snake emerged from. The branch to the right is where I made a pathetic attempt to "Chop it".

A Field Battery in Vietnam - Gunner Tiffy
Sergeants from the No. 1 Queensland Volunteer Artillery
Artillery In Action At Heilly France - Circa 1918
Members of 102 (Coral) Battery in Vietnam
Gunner Claude Rubin Winduss (Second from Left) in World War 1


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