The Master of Victoria Lodge Wor Bro Rod Single served 20 years in the Australian Army as an engineer, so becoming involved with the RSL backed charity Mates4Mates is no surprise.
The charity was introduced to support soldiers who have suffered wounds and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after service in Afghanistan. Many soldiers saw three and four tours in the country.
Part of the fund raising, which includes a sailing program on an ocean racing yacht, is a series of long distance treks over a weekend by teams of four trekkers in relays through the ranges to the west of Brisbane.
Challenges are held in March, May, August and October. So far the challenge has raised some $27,000 for M4M. The October trek, in which Rod took part in with 118 others, raised $5,915 for the charity.
Rod joined three other friends for the trek. His leg of 38km started at 9.30pm on the Saturday night and didn’t finish until 8.15am the next morning.
“It was tough, not one for the faint hearted or unfit,” Rod admitted.
During the trek the teams carried a brick on which was engraved the name of a fallen WWI Queensland soldier. Rod’s team carried a brick with the name of 6511 Pte Joseph Raine MM who was killed in action at Passhendaele 4 Nov 1917. Following the Grand Master’s initiative of publishing the names of 113 fallen soldiers, who were members of Queensland Lodges, in the June edition of The Queensland Freemason, Rod is now challenging brethren from other lodges from which their brethren did not return from WWI to take part in the treks.
There will be four more walks every year until the end of 2018. Then on 11 November 2018 it is proposed to unveil a memorial at the Gap, built from the bricks carried in the treks. Each brick will carry the name of a Queenslander killed in action in WWI. The 100km trek starts at the Gap, off Waterworks road at Enoggera Reservoir, up through the D’Aguilar National Park to a check point at Mt Nebo State School.
The trek continues and extends into the early evening upwards to White Cedar. The next section is from White Cedar to Mt Mee. This is the hardest and longest part of approximately 36km and was the leg Rod challenged and completed. From Mt Mee the final leg is to the finish at Neurum Creek Bush Retreat; from there a bus collects the trekkers and takes them to the Woodford RSL.
The event is not a race. It is a physically testing, but empowering journey that commemorates Australia’s fallen soldiers of WWI and supports our ‘Mates’ in need.
Rod Single started his army career as an apprentice at Balcombe in Victoria. He retired 20 years later as a Staff Sergeant in the works office of 21 Construction Squadron.