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Before they were Governors General

I'm privileged to be a member of a few websites where former defence force members get together to share photos and stories.

I thought you might be interested in these shots of the current and incoming Governors General!

Here's a dashing young Lieutenant Peter Cosgrove.....

Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 10.50.12 am a platoon commander in Vietnam in 1970 - pointing out the location of an enemy Burmese Python which had infiltrated the Australian base....

Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 10.50.12 am

....this is his platoon sergeant Frank Johnson dealing with the prisoner!

Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 10.50.12 am

And here's a young platoon commander David Hurley, 24 Platoon, C Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Blamey Barracks, Kapooka - 1978 (front row centre with the pips on his shoulders).

Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 10.50.12 am

I was really struck by some of the comments from blokes who've served with Sir Peter and General Hurley - here's a sample:

Had the pleasure of the Boss being my CO, Brigade Commander, Comd Land Forces, Comd in East Timor. Great man who never forgot a face or your family. Sad to see him leave the post of GG, He and Lady Lynn were great ambassadors.

I had the pleasure to watch GEN Cosgrove from 1998 - 99 when he went to Timor. He showed that no matter how long you have served there is always room for new learning and the opportunity to help others achieve / succeed - 1998 was the ABCA exercise and 1999 was deployment to Timor. I think this is why I was very pleased when he became the GG.

I read Sir Peter’s book... it’s a cracker (makes a difference if you are/were in the Army to appreciate the subtleties).   A good understanding of why he became a true Leader.

The Australian Regular Army had a very strong culture amongst its officers that the interests of the troops always took first priority. That was manifested in very practical ways, for example the officers would always wait until the troops had been served a meal out bush before they, the officers could eat.

Men like Sir Peter and General Hurley bring those strong traditions of duty and selflessness to the leadership of our country.  

I wish more of that rubbed off on the elected mob in parliament.


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Up The Workers!


If Peter Cosgrove had ever got into Frank Johnson's commendable habit of gripping every slimy serpent (public or otherwise) that he came across, by the throat, Australia would be in a far better shape today than it regrettably is.

Too many serpents in Canberra and elsewhere, and so little time.

He did have the saving grace though that Bonking Billy Short-One fortunately wasn't his son-in-law!

Michelle Two

Do you think that being in a different environment then the army that would change the souls from who they were back then as they will have grown spiritually, but the falling back to one's foundation is usually the guide over your value's, it would depend on if the powers that be and if they would influence them greatly in the new environment/role or would they be used to giving orders and taking them at the same just follow protocol in the role..
My supervisor was apparently in the armed forces before she joined the company and you can sure notice it where she demands to be the boss and treats us like crap for the inspections she undertakes.. I can picture her being a drill sergeant in the mornings barking orders to make sure the barracks were in order.. she isn't very self confident though as you would get a better response from your team if you show humility not demand and control others... it will put backs up and you will get souls that go over and beyond if you treat them with kindness.. not manipulative behaviours that is where most politicians will go wrong, as they demand respect because of the titles they behold.. if they don't deserve respect/trust they will not get it from the voting public.. simple!!!

Julie of Geelong

You’re right there Michael- they don’t make men like them anymore.

Yes, I would I love to see some of that leadership in Canberra - but, unfortunately the mob up there on both sides “don’t quite cut the mustard” as they say.

Bill Shorten leadership material - I don’t think so!!!!


This is leadership. A very good friend of mine - now gone to God - served in South Vietnam, with one Peter Cosgrove , as his platoon commander. Upon being notified that said good friend was going to God, Sir Peter Cosgrove - then Governor General - rang the hospital, and chatted to him for over an hour. Sir Peter then wrote to said good friend's family. That's leadership.


Gov-Gen Sir Peter Cosgrove & his successor, NSW Gov.David Hurley have the right qualifications and distinguished national service to hold the highest office in Australia. We are grateful for their service.

Australia needs more people of their calibre as Federal/State parliamentarians, diplomats, and ceos of important public authorities/public service.

BTW - Many British Ambassadors/High Commissioners were former senior officers who had served in the British Army.


I think it would be fair to say that far more who served with or under Peter Cosgrove are for more ready to heap praise upon him than those who served with or under the incoming GG. By the time both got to senior rank, how amenable the senior officer who was on the list of candidates for higher rank was to political correctness and the Canberra 'narrative' mattered far more than his skills as a military commander.

Peter Cosgrove escaped this process (at least in part) by his exposure to the public In leading the Timor intervention. David Hurley, who led the feminisation of the ADF (ahead of 'high heels' David Morrison), did not have his own 'Timor' - he got to the top by doing what you have to do to get past two star rank in the ADF. You follow the rules, and the hoops that must be jumped through by candidates for the top jobs in the ADF today are patently ridiculous and guaranteed to ensure we'll never find an Australian George Patton or someone similar leading our armed forces.

Most of the Defence mandarins (the civilian public servants who really run Defence) in Canberra today would say that's a good thing. Those who wear the uniform who might one day have to do the dirty business a soldier spends his (or today, his/her) career preparing for might not be quite so enthusiastic (at least in private) about that as the Canberra mandarins, public servants and politicians most certainly are.

Tony H

I have a similar photo taken in 1978 at Kapooka. I was 18, before going to RAinf.


But Hurley like Morrison has no combat medal


Reply to seadogger

Fortunately or unfortunately not every officer has the opportunity to lead troops in battle and earn a combat medal.

Lest we forget.


This picture was taken the same era I was at Kapooka des anyone know who has all the old negatives from the civilian photographer at this time?


Hi Tony I'm trying to locate the photographer from 1978 Kapooka?

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