The Army, RAAF and Queensland schools have collaborated to deliver 2,000 old textbooks to Papua New Guinea.
The Army’s 1st Signal Regiment (1 Sig Regt), which specialises in communications, worked together with Air Force elements to deliver the humanitarian services.
The donation was kickstarted by Brisbane-based teacher Colleen Neville, who has lived in Papua New Guinea for 32 years.
“In May 2019, my family and I were able to deliver 200 boxes of story books, teachers’ reference books, school supplies and soft toys for the new babies and children in the hospitals in PNG,” she said.
After learning that a large number of textbooks used in Queensland schools were due to become redundant (as curriculums transitioned to computers), Neville reached out to 30 schools around the state. She was able to secure over 2,000 books.
“The teachers are so happy to cull their libraries and give to us rather than send them to the tip,” Neville said.
She also contacted DFAT’s Queensland bureau and 1 Division/Deployable Joint Force Headquarters (DJFHQ) at Enoggera, in Brisbane’s north. DJFHQ’s Wing Commander Brent Taylor said the RAAF’s significant presence in the region made the mission significantly easier.
“Noting the Air Force involvement with the PNGDF, both with the support to the air transport wing and rotation of personnel in and out of the highlands, we are able to capitalise on opportunity space during our transits to PNG,” WGCDR Taylor said.
1 Sig Regt provided soldiers and a truck to pick up the books from Neville’s residence, for transport to RAAF Base Amberley.
Warrant Officer Class 2 Nick MacKenzie, from the regiment, said the task was highly rewarding.
“All of the soldiers who had conducted this task felt very proud to have completed it knowing that is was all for a good cause,” he said.