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Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Page: 10494

Mr JOHN COBB (Calare) (11:52): I rise to speak on the condolence motion for Lance Corporal Mervyn John McDonald and Private Nathanael John Aubrey Galagher, in this case particularly for Private Galagher who was a former student of Forbes Public School and Forbes High School in my electorate of Calare. The previous speaker said he has not been to Afghanistan. I have had the honour to spend time with our troops in Afghanistan. They are so good, so professional and so committed that you just wonder how we have people like that doing such a job.

Private Nathanael Galagher died along with fellow Australian soldier Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald from the Special Operations Task Group when their helicopter crashed in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan on 30 August. Tragically, we lost five Australian soldiers that day in Afghanistan, and obviously our hearts and thoughts go out to all their families and friends.

Private Galagher was born in Wee Waa in 1989. Nathanael attended Forbes Public School in year 6 and finished his schooling at Forbes High School. Private Galagher's mother, Sally, wrote a tribute for her son in the local newspaper of where she now lives, the Narrabri Courier, saying Nathanael was the type of bloke who would never balk at a challenge and always gave more than 100 per cent. That is certainly evident in the fact that he represented Forbes High School in cross-country at a state level.

Nathanael's mother said her son played rugby league for the Forbes Magpies and under-18 for Forbes in Group 11 rugby league before enlisting in the Army as a rifleman in October 2007. His initial training was completed in Kapooka before being stationed at Singleton and then Townsville. Private Galagher was deployed to Afghanistan for his first tour in August 2009 to February 2010 and was deployed to Afghanistan for his second tour in July. In her moving tribute in the Narrabri Courier, Private Nathanael Galagher's mother says her son was living his childhood dream of being in the Army and being a commando. He was 22 years old when he died. He is survived by his parents, Sally and Wayne, sister, Elanor, partner, Jessie Feeney, and their unborn son. Lest we forget.