Wednesday 12 March 2014 by Alison Wishart. No comments
News, Opinion, views and commentary, Personal Stories, Sydney, Kandahar, Ben Quilty

Day 2 - Departure lounge deja vu

We learned last night that the plane which the ADF charters each week to fly to and from Australia to the MEAO has broken down in Brisbane - hopefully it will be fixed to fly 24 hours later.... so I have made it to the GSAO - Greater Sydney Area of Operations. I'm fortunate to be able to stay with family instead of at Richmond barracks.

Activities to date:

0900 engage in daily transportation and security operation of escorting Marcus to primary school

0920 swerve around human scud missiles as they race randomly across the playground

0925 PT (personal training) session of walking home the very long way

1000 correspondence with VIPs (aka friends and colleagues)

1230 daily rations (lunch) with my sister-in-law who gave me a bed for the night

1330 cultural education at the School of Art in Darlinghurst to see the "Ben Quilty: After Afghanistan" exhibition. Although the exhibition space was light, airy, large and open, it was a very intense and brooding exhibition. It made my sister-in-law angry about why Australia is in this war if it is harming good people and it made me worried about how these men and women are going to adjust to being back in Australia, after being in the maelstrom of war. I'm also glad I'm not going to Kandahar, Quilty made it look very scary.

1515 reverse of this morning's transportation and security operation for school and kindy pick up

1600 shop for essentials (clean underwear!)

1800 Departure lounge deja vu - delayed for another 24 hours while the engineers do their thing.

It's nice to experience life at a different pace and to have time to read those transcripts of the first interviews!


Twelve months ago I went to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) with the Australian War Memorial. I was working on an oral history-photographic project. The core part of the project was interviewing and photographing 19 currently serving members of the ADF - from the army, navy and airforce - before, during and after their deployment in 2013 to the MEAO.  In another 12 months time, you should be able to see the results of this work in an exhibition which will travel around Australia.

These blog posts were written while I was in the MEAO but were not uploaded to the AWM website at that time.

I am planning to upload one blog post each day, exactly 12 months on from the actual day I was on deployment. We left Canberra on 12 March 2013.