Parade’s veterans of the Vietnam War – together with students of the College’s final year class of 1969 – recently reunited at a luncheon convened by the Old Paradians’ Association in the Frank Mount Social Room.

17 Vietnam veterans – 16 from Parade College, one from St Bede’s Mentone, were amongst the 60 guests who dined prior to the 1st XVIII ACC football match involving players of both schools. They included Kevin Kennedy (1963) who made the trek from New South Wales, and Ken Silman (1963) and his wife Karen from Wodonga.

The respective Principals of Parade and St Bede’s Andy Kuppe and John Finn together with members of the Colleges’ administration and the ACC Executive Officer Paddy McKenna, were present. Also in the house were ‘69ers Julius Czerny (down from Queensland) and Len Nowak (South Australia), as well as Stephen Mulqueeny who later shed light on life at Bundoora in the College’s formative years.

Capt. Adam Mowat (1994), a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns now based at Royal Military College Duntroon, delivered the keynote address.

In his address, Captain Mowat (pictured at right with long-serving former Parade College teacher and Vietnam veteran John Joss) spoke of his early years at Parade and the parallels between Parade College and the Australian Defence Force.

The following is an edited transcript;

I graduated from this fine institution in 1994 – a year of pretty good AFL pedigree with the likes of (Paradians) Jarrod Molloy, Daniel Harford, Blake Caracella and Daniel Lowther. It was also the year that Parade won the Herald Sun Shield at the MCG.

As soldiers, I believe we always compare ourselves to the ANZACs who walked the ground before us in previous conflicts. I believe the dominant narrative is along the line of “are we as good as the blokes in the previous war?”, “are we doing them proud?” and “what the bloody hell are we fighting for?”.

It is my belief of absolute certainty that we are all just as good, that the ANZAC spirit is alive in every soldier and the moment that uniform gets issued from the Q-Store you belong to the largest family in the country - ‘The Army’.

I’ve pulled some key words from Parade’s doctrine that resonate with me. I also believe that they sit with any reputable organisation in the world, including the Defence Force:

  • offer best practice, fullness of life and holistic growth for all;
  • strive for students to grow;
  • deepen relationships with community engagement;
  • provide dynamic education, empowering independent and confident young men in the pursuit of excellence;
  • develop considerate, compassionate young men who value relationships;
  • afford social and emotional intelligence in a global context; and
  • create a professional environment, providing teamwork and continuous improvement.

For context, the Army values are

  • teamwork;
  • courage;
  • initiative;
  • respect;
  • professionalism; and
  • innovation

Included with these values are Codes of Conduct for all roles.

I’d like to finish up by expressing how privileged I am to have attended Parade College. It set the conditions for success in my later years.

Being a student at Parade College was like being a member of one large football team. Being a Subleton in the ARA soon to be Sub Unit COMD is similar – it’s just one big football team full of smaller teams.

The values and mission statements of our two organisations are astoundingly similar. Parade College has Tenete Traditiones (Hold Fast to the Traditions); RMC-D has - Doctrina Vim Pomovet (Learning Promotes Strength).

We are similar in many, many ways.

The end objectives for both institutions are to graduate intelligent, caring, robust men of good character . .. and I think we are both meeting out Mission Success Criteria.

I am eternally grateful and proud to be a graduate of Parade College. This school inculcates a sense of pride, loyalty, respect and camaraderie. These are core values that text books and university lecturers cannot teach.

The journey of being a student at this establishment is the learning outcome. The boys just don’t know it yet. They will call upon these lessons in years to come when in adversity surrounded by chaos, friction and uncertainty, they will succeed.

The solutions will already be in their blueprint – a blueprint engrained in every graduate of the ‘Old Bluestone Pile’ – and enshrined in the Old Paradians curriculum for living.

Thank you so much – It’s an honour to be with you all today.