Field Dining Nights.
HISTORY OF THE MIXED FIELD DINNERS.
In March, 1999, four members of the Association, Joe Fisk, Barry Wright, Norm Mundy and Bob Collins, held a camping week in the mountains behind Beenleigh. During the course of one dinner, for which the table had been set with Candelabra and white tablecloth, the matter of having ladies attend a similar future dinner was raised.
At the time the Assn was conducting an Anzac Day formal dining night at Victoria Barracks, organised by Bob Collins, but the feeling was that these would eventually become too expensive and a cheaper alternative was needed.
Bearing in mind that this was raised late in the evening, after a number of wines and ports, so the discussion ranged over a wide range of styles, venues, formats etc. It was recognised that, if these dinners were to eventuate successfully, an area large enough to accommodate the dining marquee and annexe, parking facilities for guests, cooking and ablution facilities for those setting up the marquees would also be required together with camping facilities for those intending to camp overnight. Only a couple of weeks later Joe, Barry and Bob took a camping trailer down into Barry Wright’s backyard – he has 15 acres almost 7 ha.. Barry received quite a surprise when it was pointed out that here, in his own back paddock was there a suitable area.
From that moment on, work commenced on clearing space for the building of a kitchen, toilets, shower etc. Over the years these were improved on, some 600+ ornamental plants, shrubs and flowering bushes planted and couch grass grown where required.
For the first dinner everything except the tablecloths was hired. Over the next 10 years any profits from the dinners went into purchasing crockery, glasses, tentage, etc., and in improvements to the area – kitchen, shower, toilets etc., until everything was owned. The State Emergency Services were most helpful in the early days and loaned tentage, chairs etc. With the purchase of, and recovering of our own chairs nothing was then required from SES.
The dinners were held in a large marquee with tables set up in the traditional U pattern, white tablecloths and candelabra utilized and a Spit Roast is used for the meals. 25 dinners were held under canvass with the largest gatherings in June 2009 when 62 members and guests attended and in 2011 when 68 attended. Regular working bees were held at the site to ensure that all facilities were maintained and various improvements built as required. Running water was available in several sites and electricity was connected on a selective basis. Hot water was available.
The extensive work required prior to and after a field dinner eventually became too much for the ageing members and in 2012 the venue was moved two doors away into the spacious house of Ted and Heather McAllan. 9 dinners were held there until, owing to the age of the organisers, the final dinner was held in October 2016.
Planting the Lone Pine. L-R Karl Aschhoff, Douglas Ng, John Batze
L-R. WO1 Norm Mundy, LT Douglas Ng, CPL Paul Brown, S/SGT Barry Wright, MAJGEN John Pearn AO.RFD, MAJ Bob Collins, SGT Colin Gould MBE, CAPT Noel Parker (RAN Retd.), WO2 Noel Serafini, SGT Jesse Chee
Preparing to march in the flags at a Formal Field Dinner. Colin Gould, Noel Serafini, Barry Wright.
L-R. CPL Paul Brown, MAJ Bob Collins, CAPT Phil Ainsworth, SGT Jesse Chee
L-R: Dr Rice, MAJ Bob Collins, MAJGEN John Pearn AO RFD, CAPT Phil Ainsworth
The attendees at the Mixed Field Dinner
A typical scent washing up the morning after a dinner. Tubs of hot water. Bob Davies washing glasses.