Harris Massood, left, and Chithi Gunatilake are impressed by a Hawkei military vehicle.

By Colin MacGillivray

Australian Defence Force personnel stationed at Puckapunyal Military Area had the opportunity show off their way of life to the general public at an open day earlier this month.

The day saw the gates of the base opened to the community as Puckapunyal personnel set up displays of military vehicles and equipment, along with an inflatable obstacle course for children.

Emergency services also set up stalls, while food and beverage vans served the hundreds of patrons who visited the base.

Money raised during the day was donated to veteran support organisation Legacy.

Combined Arms Training Centre commandant and Puckapunyal senior Australian Defence Force officer Colonel Patrick Davison said he had the idea of hosting the open day as a way of connecting on-base families with the shire’s businesses and activities.

“[However] as the planning progressed we broadened it to include welcoming members of the public who rarely get to see inside the Puckapunyal base,” he said.

“We estimate around 1000 people attended the open day to see our equipment displays, defence information stalls, ride in a Bushmaster protected mobility vehicle and to enjoy the activities we had put on for the kids.”

Mr Davison said he was grateful so many people had visited Puckapunyal.

“I was especially proud of some of [the] army’s newest men and women who did such a fantastic job of hosting our guests who came from as far afield as Melbourne and Shepparton,” he said.

“We will start planning another bigger and better event for later in the year to make sure we always stay connected to the communities that sustain us as we train to protect them.

“We will aim to raise even more money for Legacy than we did at [this month’s] event.”