Dean Dobson is a Wiradjuri man and firefighter who grew up in Sydney. This interview is part of the ‘Honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Men and Women Who Served Their Country’ project. In the interview Dean talks about his training and peacekeeping work with the Army Reserve and the growing significance of ANZAC Day for his family.
I first joined the Army Reserve back in ’96 for a couple of years and then I got out because I was a bit busy with work; and then I got back in about five years later and I’ve been back in the Army Reserve now for about eleven years. I guess since I was a kid I always wanted to join the army. I don’t know what it was, whether I’d seen the ads or just seen people when I was a kid, and I’d always wanted to join and, yes, when I was old enough I guess that’s what I did, had a crack at it. I think I remember going to one of the army open days and they had a flying fox and all these other cool things that you do when you’re a kid, and I just remember from that I always wanted to join. I went to the Solomon Islands with RAMSI [Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands] so we were just peacekeeping over there for four or five months. Yes, it was great. The Solomon Islands I really enjoyed. I really felt that we did some really good work over there and made a difference, that people really enjoyed having us over there and it was just really good just to feel that you’re actually doing something and, I guess, serving your country and making a little bit of a difference over there; and also just actually seeing how other people and communities live I thought was really eye-opening and I guess it helps you appreciate Australia a lot more. The police didn’t have weapons so we’d just basically go on their patrols with them and just follow them and just cruise around with them, interacting with the locals and just providing security for them while they went about their daily jobs, and it was quite interesting, actually, and enjoyable.