For David Barri, Leading Hand for Cleanaway Southern QLD Municipals, Anzac Day is not about war, but about remembering the people who have served and have died for the country. We spoke to David recently to find out about his experiences as an Army Reserve Officer, and what ANZAC Day means to him.
A life-long Army reservist, David began his reservist career in 1996.
“I was initially attached to the 9th Battalion of the Royal Queensland Regiment for the better part of 18 years before joining the Queensland University Regiment.” David explained, “I trained officers and other reservists for 4 years before being posted back to the 9th Battalion.”
“(Being with the reservists) has helped me with my job at Cleanaway. You get a lot of skills and meet a lot of different people,” David explains. “What I’ve learnt in the army I’ve actually brought it across here to Cleanaway, such as being a driver instructor and training others.”
David’s duties as a Leading Hand at Cleanaway involve monitoring safety compliance and training drivers, ensuring our drivers go Home Safe. He also liaises with the council daily and does site inspections regularly.
Being a reservist affords David a flexible schedule for his military service. His Tuesday nights and some of his weekends are spent with the reservists.
On top of that, he says, “There’s a multitude of courses you can go on, such as promotion or specialist courses, like heavy weapons and operating radios. These are on top of your weekly duties and the 2-week long training exercises.”
During his time with the 9th Battalion, David was posted all over Australia (except Western Australia).
“I was also part of the exchange of the American Army exchange in 2001 and was stationed in Hawaii when the September 11 attacks happened. In 2006, I was also stationed with the Navy briefly as part of Border Protection.”
“My most memorable moment with the Reservists was when I visited East Timor as a civilian. I had been deployed to East Timor in 2009, and I went back nine years later with a Veteran’s tour,” he recounted. “It was good to see what we did then has had an effect. Back in 2009, we helped East Timor get back on its feet, and lots of things have changed for the better. Now, all the kids are going to school, growing up in a different environment than what their parents experienced.”
David had been posted to East Timor in 2009 after the nation gained independence. Australian Forces were key to helping East Timor stabilise itself as it transitioned to self-rule and sovereignty. In 2017, David joined the Veterans Tour for East Timor and got a first-hand look at the country’s changes since his last visit.
“I still talk with a lot of my mates from that time, mostly on Facebook,” David shared. “Whether it’s in the Reserves or the regular army, it’s like a big family. You can meet a lot of people, make new friends, and learn new skills.”
“On Anzac Day I catch up with mates I’ve served with. Especially those who have PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).”
Learn more about the people who make up Cleanaway’s vibrant and diverse workforce today.