Kenneth Drinkwater
Cloncurry – Mayi Tribe
Torres Straits – Moa Island (St Paul)
England – Attleborough UK
Private
Royal Australian Infantry Corps
Australian Army

Medals
Australian Active Service Medal with clasp EAST TIMOR
International Force East Timor Medal (INTERFET)
Australian Defence Force Medal
United Nations Medal (UNTAET)
Infantry Combat Badge
Returned from Active Service Badge

 

I was born in Mt Isa, Northwest Queensland, in March 1973. My mother is a descendant of Tiger Mitchell from the Mayi Tribe of Cloncurry, born in Kowanyama and raised on Moa Island in the Torres Straits. My father’s roots trace back to Attleborough, United Kingdom, but he was born and raised in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia.

I grew up in Maroochydore, Sunshine Coast, where I completed my Year 12 education. I enlisted in the Army on Edward Street, Brisbane, on November 26, 1996, and served with honour in the 6th Battalion and 2nd Battalion. I was deployed to East Timor in 1999 with 2RAR/INTERFET and again in 2001 with 2RAR/UNTAET. My military career concluded with a medical discharge on September 26, 2003.

After my military service, I worked in various industries, including fishing, construction, exploration, and mining. Before retiring in 2016, I worked in underground mining for several sites and companies, progressing from Service Crew to Bogger Operator to Long Hole Driller. The companies and sites I worked at include Byrnecut Mine, Mt Gordon, QLD; Paddington Homestead Mine, Kalgoorlie, WA; Granny Smith Mine, Laverton, WA; Cosmos Mine, Leinster, WA; Barminco Eloise Copper Mine, Cloncurry, QLD; Ernest Henry Mine, Cloncurry, QLD; Mt Lyell Mine, Queenstown, TAS; Renison Mine, Renison Bell, TAS. I retired from civil employment in 2016 due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, marking the beginning of a new journey for me and my family.

I always envisioned a lifelong military career. I still speak about the army as if it were only yesterday. I was proud, strong, and ambitious, wearing my uniform with pride and respect, ready to sacrifice for my people, country, and nation. The army taught me resilience, and when I was discharged, I didn’t look back; I pursued a new career. I am proud of my achievements and the person I have become through all my experiences. This is what living truly means to me. While my physical appearance has changed over the years, with a bigger gut and slower pace, I remain proud of my service to my country and still stand tall and proud under the flag I fought for. That’s Australia.