Steve Collins
Goreng Goreng (Eidsvold, Queensland)
Private
4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
Royal Australian Infantry Corps
Australian Army
Vietnam Veteran

Medals
Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 – Vietnam
Vietnam Medal
Australian Defence Medal
Anniversary of National Service 1951-72 Medal
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Infantry Combat Badge

My brother Noel, sister Noelene and myself were born and raised in Eidsvold, Queensland by our Grandparents Bunda and Janet Collins, along with their children. Our Grandparents took on the job of raising us after the death of our mother at twenty-three, leaving behind three children, four, three and one. Noel also went to Vietnam, and Noelene moved to Maryborough to become a nurse. Bunda and Janet, along with our Aunts and Uncles, did a mighty job in raising us. On weekends, most of our time was spent travelling around with our grandparents, checking on the cattle and water on the three outstation properties of Eidsvold Station. Grandfather Bunda was the head stockman at Eidsvold Station. All of our family, at some stage or other, ended up working on the property either as stockmen or housemaids. When we weren’t out bush with our grandparents, we were either exploring the old mine shafts in the hills behind Eidsvold, fishing for crawfish in the creeks and gullies, or swimming in Harkness Boundary Creek.

I left school in 1962 and went out bush working with my uncle Ivan who was conscripted in the 50s to go to Korea. Unfortunately for him, his mother would not sign the form for him to go overseas. Ivan told us all the tales about his time in the army. It was there that I made up my mind that at some stage of my life that I was going to join the forces. After four years of working on Eidsvold Station, travelling and working in Carnarvon, Western Australia, for a year. I came back to Eidsvold completing high school, the travel bug hit me again and I joined the army. I can still remember my grandmother sitting on the ground at our old house crying when I told her that I was going to Vietnam. It must have been even worse for her when Noel told her that he was bound for Vietnam also.

I was in the 2/70, 20th intake when we arrived in Singleton. I completed both recruit and Corps training down in Singleton. We were shipped off to Townsville to 4 RAR next in line for Vietnam, from September 1970 to May 1971, our battalion trained in the High Range, Mt Spec, Mt Stuart area in Townsville. Canungra, Wiangarie state forest New South Wales On the 13th of May 1971, our battalion departed Townsville on the HMAS Sydney and landed in Vung Tau Harbour on the 22/05/7. On 23/05/71, the main party landed in Nui Dat by Chinooks. Then the games began.