Historian Dick Kimber gets a ride in an Army truck.
By ERWIN CHLANDA
Matthew McKinlay, 42, wore four medals he earned as a police officer in Australia and in East Timor, during the tumultuous period when the country became independent from Indonesia.
He was there with the 5/7 Royal Australian Regiment as a Lance Corporal.
“East Timor was probably the most dangerous place I’ve been, in 1999 to 2000, during the peace enforcing phase through the United Nations mission.”
After Timor Mr McKinlay joined the NT Police. As a First Class Constable he received the Police Commissioner’s Commendation for “helping out a young fellow who attempted to commit suicide by drinking organophosphate methanol” in Humpty Doo.
He performed CPR for 36 minutes before an ambulance arrived.
On the other side of his chest this morning were medals his grandfather had earned in the Navy in Darwin when the Japanese bombed the city in World War II.
“That’s why I chose to march with the veterans,” said Mr McKinlay, as they “formed up” at the head of the parade in Todd Street to mark Anzac Day this morning.
Mr McKinlay, now a Senior Constable First Class in Alice Springs, is the chair of Riding for the Disabled (RDA).
He is working “to create a space where veterans and families can reduce their isolation, have a point of access for services in the community, improve nutritional outcomes, cooking a meal at each meeting and eating it together.
“At this point I’m seeking government funding, creating a space at RDA, at Blatherskite Park. We have a perfect space but we need bits and pieces to run the project.”
Meanwhile 13 students from Ntaria (Hermannsburg) had been on a five day horse ride to Alice Springs to join the parade, about 700 people – military, police, emergency services, American soldiers, school kids and mums and dads, babies in strollers.
The Ntaria students wore World War I uniforms, acknowledging the service of Aboriginal people in the Australian Defence Forces.
Veterans head up the parade.