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A True Australian Adventure Story


Brian W McFarlane

Brian William McFarlane was born at Arncliffe in Sydney on 13 December 1932 and grew up to the background of the Great Depression and World War II. He was educated initially by the Sisters of St Joseph and later by the Marist Brothers. At eighteen, having commenced work in the motor industry, he was called up for three months universal national service, which he undertook at Singleton, NSW. This led to selection to attend the first intake of the newly established Officer Cadet School at Portsea, Victoria. After graduation, he commenced his career as an infantry officer in the Australian Regular Army at the beginning of its two decades of intense involvement in Malaya, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam.

In Malaya in the mid-nineteen-fifties he first commanded an infantry platoon of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, and then, having trained as a tracker, led a team of Iban and Australian trackers hunting terrorists in the deep jungles of the Malay/Thai border region.

Following up an interest in the Malay language, he studied Indonesian for twelve months at the RAAF School of Languages during 1960.

Service as an instructor at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, was followed by three years with The Pacific Islands Regiment in Papua New Guinea, first as adjutant, then second-in-command of a rifle company, and later as a company commander.

In mid-1966 he was with the Ist Australian Task Force when it occupied Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy Province, Vietnam. He commanded Charlie Company, 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, and later in the tour became battalion second-in-command.

Following attendance at the Australian Staff College in 1968, he served on the General Staff of Headquarters Eastern Command in Sydney.

He returned to Vietnam in mid-1970 to command the 1st Australian Reinforcement Unit at Nui Dat from where he was appointed to the staff of Headquarters 1st Australian Task Force as Operations Officer. In that posting he took part in the final withdrawal of the Australian Task Force from Vietnam in December 1971.

A staff posting in Sydney followed, before being appointed Staff Officer, Doctrine, Publications and Trials at the Infantry Centre, Singleton, NSW.

Following transfer to the Reserve of Officers at age forty-two in 1975, he worked in the Middle East for a time, travelled, and then returned to Australia and undertook an eclectic variety of occupations.

He remains unmarried and now lives at Bowral in the Southern Highlands of NewSouth Wales.