85 Transport Association

The home of past and present 85'ers

Albury 2013 Reunion Report

It was a busy and exciting time over the Vietnam Veterans Day weekend when we celebrated our 9th bi-annual reunion in Albury, NSW.

Our first event was a ‘Meet & Greet function at the Commercial Club. Over 150 people attended (including, for the first time, a number of post Vietnam members of 85). Our reunion chairman, Alan Grey, welcomed everyone and got the weekend of to a flying start.

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On Saturday, we embarked for a visit to the historic towns of Beechworth and Chiltern, stopping for a quick visit to the Hume Dam on the way. We had some very interesting historical tours of both places and found a variety of interesting places for lunch in Beechworth. Our visit to Chiltern included  a walking tour of the old town.

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The highlight of our reunion was our dinner dance on Saturday evening. We had a wonderful night with dinner and entertainment in one of the very nice function rooms of the Commercial Club. Our guest speaker was Captain Marcus Luciani, a previous Officer in Command of 85 Transport Troop and soon-to-be OC of 26 Squadron, the parent company of 85 Troop. We are very grateful to him for his update on current events in our old unit and for answering so many questions from the floor.

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Photos of each ‘year group’ of 85 members show that as we are getting somewhat older, we still have the same charm and ‘pizzaz’ as in our service days.

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Some of the ‘originals’ who served in 85 Transport during 1966 to 1967 , the first year in which the unit served in Vietnam.

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Members who served during 1968 to 1969

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Those who served during 1969 to 1970

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Members from 1970 to 1971 (when the unit returned to Australia).

On Sunday, we visited two places with links to our unit’s past. Firstly, we visited the Army museum in Bandiana. This contains an extensive collection of military equipment. The obvious vehicle of interest to our members was the Mark 5 garbage truck. Almost everyone who served in the unit at Nui Dat would have been rostered to have driven this truck as one of the responsibilities of 85 Platoon, as a member of the Task Force Maintenance Area was the daily collection of garbage around the Task Force base. This vehicle is unique in that it was the only purpose built garbage compacter vehicle ever built for the army. The boys took great delight in informing the staff about the need for correction of some of the finer details of the display.

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A line up of Mark 5 trucks at the museum. When we were in Vietnam, these vehicles were a brand new addition to the Army’s transport fleet.

Our second stop was at the old Migrant Hostel Museum at Bonegilla. For some of our earlier members, this was the original site of the army driver training centre before it was moved to Puckapunyal around 1977. The site was shared between a migrant hostel for displaced people after WW2 and the Army. Some of our people were able to find the original hut in which they lived during that time.

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Our reunion concluded with us attending the Vietnam Veterans Day service conducted by the local Murray Border Vietnam Veterans Association. It was a very moving service followed by an excellent dinner.

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We now look forward to our next reunion which will be held over the Vietnam Veterans day period in 2015 in Adelaide.

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7 Responses to “Albury 2013 Reunion Report”

  • Trina Bruce says:

    Good job Bruce

  • Eamon says:

    Thanks Bruce for the update, I’m sorry we couldn’t make it this year but will in 2915.

  • Ray Wall says:

    Excellent report and photo’s Bruce. Another great reunion. Congratulations to all those who organised and contributed to this well run event.

    Two years to save up for the next one in Adelaide!

  • Brian Asplund says:

    Well done Bruce

  • john beekmeyer says:

    who is the 85Tpt Pl contact for the next reunion in Adelaide? Pls forward a listing of all serving members in Vietnam with thanks

  • Marcus Luciani says:

    It was great to be your guest and meet so many veterans. Please keep in touch with current serving members into the future.

  • Rob Bailey says:

    HiYa you 85’ers sorry I was unable to get to the reunion in 13 but I am looking forward to the next one in Adelaide in 15. I recognize a couple of my old ugly mates Ian Morgan & Francis Joseph Bugsby who I used to wake up & look @ ever morning in our Hoochie. Nice to see that you Old Barstards are still alive even though you look more decrepid than I do HA HA!!

    Katcha Rob Bailey


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