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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2010) . . Page.. 2476 ..


serving officer. His association with the Australian Army began when he enlisted in 10th Brigade Royal Australian Artillery as a cadet in 1937. He was educated at Wesley College in Melbourne, he was commissioned on 15 March 1940 and subsequently served in the 14th Field Regiment until 1942 when he became a liaison officer on the staff of the 2nd Australian Division.

In 1943 he was transferred to the 4th Field Regiment and saw active service as a battery captain, troop commander and forward observer in New Guinea, Bougainville and New Britain until the end of the war. The battle against Japan was a tough one, undertaken in the jungles of New Guinea, which already concealed many dangers of their own. He was mentioned in dispatches for his services as a forward observer in action in Bougainville.

After the war, he left the Army for a time and went into civil employment but returned to active duty in 1948 as an adjutant for the 3rd Field Regiment and later on the staff of the 13th Infantry Brigade, followed with 1st Field Regiment as adjutant and then battery commander.

After a posting to Army headquarters, Whitelaw attended the Canadian staff training college in 1955 and for the next two years was an exchange officer at the Canadian National Defence Headquarters. Further staff appointments in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney followed on his return to Australia in 1958. In 1966 he was transferred to the staff of the Australian Army Force, Far East Land Forces in Singapore, becoming deputy commander in 1967.

He returned to Australia in 1968 as Director of Equipment Policy at Australian headquarters and again went overseas in 1970, this time as the Chief of Staff to the Australian Force Vietnam. His time as commander in Vietnam coincided with increasingly large scale anti-Vietnam demonstrations taking place in Australia. On his return from Vietnam and on his retirement, Major General Whitelaw was appointed Commander of the British Empire and awarded the Bronze Star by the USA for his services.

Appointments followed until he retired from the Army in 1978. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s birthday honours in 1977. After retirement, Major General Whitelaw served on the council of the National Heart Foundation and became the founding executive director of the National Farmers Federation. He was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery until 1984 and found time in his busy engagements to continue his military interests in history and as a patron of various associations and societies.

He was highly active in all matters concerning veterans’ welfare. He was also an ardent conservationist, with a longstanding membership of the National Conservation Strategy Consultative Committee and the National Tree Program Coordinating Committee when they were set up in 1982. He continued his interest as a consultant to Greening Australia, a position he held until 1996, where he was awarded an award for outstanding achievement. He always maintained, however, a sensible balance and, interestingly enough given the debate yesterday, when the ban on kangaroo culling led to them becoming a grave nuisance for farmers, he was able to persuade an international reporting mission of the facts by flying them around the country and, in


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