Denis Smallwood's interview in Tweed Heads

Denis Smallwood discusses his 12 years in the army, from basic training through to active service in East Timor and Iraq. He talks about the different challenges of those two conflicts, how the focus on aid and helping local people in the ‘bush’ context of East Timor, and the satisfaction of that work for him, contrasted with the more dangerous, difficult and complex conflict he served through in Iraq, particularly in Baghdad. Denis speaks about the problems he experienced when he returned home, left the army, and tried to adjust back to normal life. Turning to drugs and alcohol to try and cope, he says this was by far the hardest battle to fight, and while initially wary of seeking help, it was the advice, help and support from both local community members and more formal services, in particular those facilitated by DVA, that made all the difference and helped Denis deal with his service-related trauma and get his life back on track.

This interview took place on 23 April 2015 in Tweed Heads and was conducted by Dr Allison Cadzow as part of the Australian Research Council-funded research project Serving our Country: a history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the defence of Australia.

The interview recording above is made available to be viewed here by permission of the interviewee(s), Denis Smallwood. The recording may not be copied, reproduced or communicated in whole or in part without the prior permission of the interviewee(s). Requests for permission for use of this material should be made to the Serving our Country research project: our contact details.

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Updated:  16 July 2015/Responsible Officer:  Director, Serving our Country/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team