Noel David Pope
Wulli Wulli
(Theodore, Cracow and Eidsvold, Queensland)
Retired Private
Royal Australian Infantry Corps

Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with clasp Vietnam
Vietnam Medal
Australian Defence Medal
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Served in the Australian Regular Army from 1970 – 1973
Trained at Kapooka Victoria
Served in Vietnam – full tour of 14 months
Australian Army Advisory Group Vietnam (AAAGV) – 1972
Australian Embassy Guard, Vietnam


“My Uncle Ivan Collins was in the Military and my older brother was called up to National Service. In those days, the best job prospect we had was being a labourer, and it didn’t pay much.  So when my brother called me and asked why I didn’t try to enlist, I thought it sounded like a good idea. I experienced all kinds of segregation and racism growing up in a little regional town, but when I joined the military, it was the first time in my life that I was fully accepted. I was 22 when I arrived in Vietnam in 1972 and I was one of the last 28 soldiers left in Vietnam and was there till April 1973. I was in Vietnam for 14 months, starting at the Australian Army Advisory  Group Vietnam before being moved to the Australian Embassy Guard.

I was shocked by the devastation in Vietnam, and I suffered post-traumatic stress. When I got home, it took me a while to find the right community to help me realise what I was going through. Returning to the bush is where I found peace. I am now semi-retired, but along with Ben O’Donald, we partnered to create a program for servicemen, ex-servicemen and families with post-traumatic stress. The name of the program was Trek to Reset, where we asses the group to escape society’s complexities. We take them out bush and bring the group together in conversations sitting around the campfire in a group therapy session.

 The day I enlisted to serve I agreed to defend and protect our country because that’s who I am. I will always be a soldier, for the rest of my life. Watching my grandkids March on ANZAC day is a big thrill”.