Rick Clark OAM
Mandandanji
Major
Royal Australian Infantry Corps
Australian Army

Medals and Awards
Medal of the Order of Australia – Military Division
Australian Active Service Medal with clasps Iraq 2003 and ICAT
Afghanistan Medal
Iraq Medal
Australian Service Medal with clasp SE Asia
Australian Operational Service Medal – Greater Middle East (2 tours)
Defence Force Service Medal with 5 clasps
Australian Defence Medal
NATO Medal with clasp ISAF
NATO Medal with clasp Afghanistan (2 tours)

 

In 1860 my mother’s great grandmother, Caroline – a Mandandanji woman, married an English grazier from Cattle Creek, near Roma Queensland. My grandfather, mother and I were born in Cunnamulla, Queensland – a small country town 206 kilometres south of Charleville and approximately 750 kilometres west of Brisbane. My Aboriginal family has a long history of military service: my great grandfather served in the AIF during WW1; my grandfather, his brothers and 3 of their sons served in the Army during WWII; my uncle, my three brothers and two of my three sisters have served in the Australian Army; and my daughter is an Engineer Corps Lieutenant. I am one of seven children – my brothers and sisters were born in Charleville, Hughenden, Longreach and Maryborough Queensland. We moved to Maryborough when I was four as my mother did not want us to grow up in the ‘outback’ like herself. My mother never spoke about her Aboriginal heritage – she grew up during the Stolen Generation period and her parents did not want to be identified as Aboriginal. Later in life my uncles and aunties identified which led me to better understand my Aboriginal heritage. Completing year 12 I worked as a Storeman Packer for six months before I commenced employment as a Bank Teller with the Commonwealth Bank.

I enlisted into the Australian Army when I was 19, completed Infantry Corps training and marched into the 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR). I served as a soldier for 24 years – serving with 6 RAR, 8/9 RAR, Royal Military College-Duntroon (RMC-D), Royal Military Academy Sandhurst UK, 10/27 RSAR and 25/49 RQR. In 2005 I commissioned as an officer and have since served with HQ CATC, HQ 9 Bde, 10/27 RSAR, Adelaide Universities Regiment, 1 RAR, Rifleman Wing Singleton, HQ 2nd Division, Joint Capabilities Group and Army HQ. During my service I have completed a Bachelor of Management and a Master’s in Business Administration – the first of my siblings to complete higher education. Apart from marrying my extremely supportive wife – highlights of my career include being an RMC-D Drill Sergeant, commanding the Infantry Corps Initial Employment Training school, and attending my daughter’s Australian Defence Force Academy and RMC-D March Out parades – both of which she commanded as the senior officer cadet. After 40 years SERCAT 7 (Regular Army) service I transferred to a SERCAT 5 (Army Reserve) position as Army’s Regional Indigenous Liaison Officer South Australia. I am the Secretary of the Army Indigenous Cultural Advisory Board and a board member of Aboriginal Veterans South Australia. I thoroughly enjoy engaging with the Aboriginal groups throughout Australia, building community spirit and developing youth.

My greatest observation from my service is that service personnel, regardless of race, creed, colour or gender simply enjoy being a member of our ADF Mob!