Saturday the 4th of October saw an invasion of sorts in Uralla when the group of ex Australian SAS regiment soldiers known as the Wandering Warriors came to town on their Mega Challenge trek from Brisbane to Canberra.

The relay walk covered some 1300km over 19 days with 12 walkers walking in a relay fashion for the entire 1300kms raising funds to help charities supporting our Australian ex-service men and women recovering from PTSD and physical injuries form their service in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The Rotary Club of Uralla was asked to be involved several months ago when their advanced team came through town. They were going to have a night stop over in Uralla and wondered what Rotary might be able to do to help them on their trek. Immediately we began to come up with ideas to support them overnight as well as driving their fund raising efforts whilst here.


We decided to have an open day for them at the Uralla Showground to show off the current Australian Army vehicles that would be accompanying the Warriors on their trek south. This included several large UNIMOG transport trucks, new G-Wagon 4 wheel drives and the very special NARY six wheel drive Special Operations Vehicle (SOV) which is in current use with the SASR. It was a very rare opportunity to see these amazing vehicles up close.

The day came and the Warriors entered town to the rousing applause of the Uralla community with kids waving Australian flags and people digging deep with donations. They were then greeted by our Mayor, Michael Pearce, who welcomed them warmly to our little town and they all headed off to the showgrounds for the afternoons activities.

All the Army vehicles parked on the main arena where Rotary members, along with members of the Uralla Lions Club, CWA and RSL Sub-branch members had set up and were busy cooking a BBQ lunch for everyone. The Uralla SES also were on show and contributing to the day. Donations were collected at the gate and steak and sausage sandwiches sold to raise funds.

Also for the first time during the trip the SAS soldiers were able to provide rides in the SOV. They would take 3 kids, big and small, at a time around the showground arena and then out onto the highway were you could really feel what it might be like to operate one of these specialist combat vehicles.

By about 5pm some 500 people had come to the showgrounds to have a look and meet these amazing men and women of the Wandering Warriors. Most of them then managed to sit back and relax and have a beer or two. Rotarians Russ and Teresa then prepared dinner for the 30 odd members and support team who had been surviving on sausage sandwiches. It was a nice change for them to have a cooked meal with salads and fresh fruit and cheeses for desert. They greatly appreciated it.

After sitting around an open fire for a few hours, it was time to get some well earned sleep before the long trek to Tamworth the following day. Everyone rose early and the walkers headed off by about 7am after a hearty breakfast cooked by Rotary and several members of the Warriors support team. After a clean up of the area the Army support team also headed off but not before a stop off down the road in the main street to visit Rotarian Russ at his shop.

This event was a great team effort by the service clubs of Uralla. They all worked together to do what ever could be done to help raise funds for this great cause. Around $4000 was raised during the weekend and the Warriors were so impressed with our town they couldn't help themselves and made special mention of Uralla in one of their media interviews on Channel 7 when they arrived in Canberra a couple of weeks later.

We hope they will be able to head this way again next year. Well done to the community of Uralla, Uralla Rotary members, Lions Club, CWA and RSL and the Uralla Shire Council and of course a very well done to the Wandering Warriors.

 

Members of the RSL and Mayor Michael Pearce (centre with the Australian National Flag) head off down the highway to the strains of the Bag Pipes and the applause of the community of Uralla.Members of the RSL and Mayor Michael Pearce (centre with the Australian National Flag) head off down the highway to the strains of the Bag Pipes and the applause of the community of Uralla.

 
The SOV moves down the main street with one of the Warriors playing the Bag Pipes up in the gun ring on the top of the vehicle. He played all the way to the showgrounds.


Some of the convoy of Army vehicles making their way down the main street of Uralla on their way to the showgrounds.


One of the support vehicles who came along with them.


Set up under the Council provided marquees with Rotary, Lions, CWA and RSL members working hard and having some great fun.


The 1st Lady of the Uralla Rotary Club Dannielle at the BBQ for lunch.


A Rotary family member enjoying the spin around town the Warriors were providing for donations to charity


Rotarian Russ with the SAS Special Operations Vehicle (SOV) outside his shop on Sunday on their way to Tamworth.

 

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