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Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Page: 6202

Mr TREVOR (5:05 PM) —May I begin by congratulating the member for Paterson for what can only be described as a beautiful and compassionate speech. Somehow, Madam Deputy Speaker Moylan, I feel certain that both Jacob and Darren would be proud of that one.

I too attended the funeral service on Thursday, 17 June 2010 for Sapper Jacob Moerland at the Gayndah Town Hall in my electorate of Flynn in Central Queensland and afterwards at the RSL hall. It was a full, formal military funeral service. His family attending included his mother, Mrs Sandra Moerland; his father, Mr Robert Moerland; his sister, Ms Laura Moerland; his sister, Ms Bethany Moerland; and his fiancee, Ms Kezia Mulcahy. The attendees included, but were by no means limited to, the Hon. Kevin Rudd MP, Prime Minister of Australia; Senator the Hon. John Faulkner, the Minister for Defence; the Hon. Alan Griffin MP, Minister for Defence Personnel; the Hon. Tony Abbott MP, Leader of the Opposition; Senator the Hon. David Johnston, shadow minister for defence; the Hon. Bob Baldwin MP, shadow minister for defence science and personnel, representing the shadow minister for defence; the Hon. Anna Bligh MLA, Premier of Queensland; Dr Ian Watts, Secretary for Defence; Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC, AFC, Chief of the Defence Force; Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie AO, DSC, CSM, Chief of Army; Lieutenant General Frank Hickling AO, CSC, Colonel Commandant Royal Australian Engineers; Brigadier Paul McLachlan ADC, Commander 7 Brigade; Lieutenant Colonel John Carey, Commanding Officer 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment; the pallbearer party, members of 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment; representatives from current engineers units; members of the RSL; Mayor Joy Jensen and her councillors; the state member for Callide, Jeff Seeney; and members of the Gayndah community.

Sapper Jacob Daniel Moerland was born on 14 January 1989 and died serving his country on 7 June 2010 in Afghanistan. Sapper Jacob Daniel Moerland enlisted on 9 July 2007 and completed his initial recruitment training at the1st Recruit Training Battalion, 1RTB, in October 2007. After completing his driver courses and the suite of combat engineer courses in May 2008, Sapper Moerland was posted to 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment, 2CER, in Brisbane. 2CER was his first posting as a combat engineer and whilst at 2CER he went on to complete a number of courses, including the protected mobility vehicle driver course in April 2009 and the combat first aid course in August 2009. His deployment in January this year as part of Mentoring Task Force was his first operation. As part of his tour he has been awarded the Australian Active Service Medal with Clasp International Campaign against Terrorism, or ICAT, the NATO Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Sapper Moerland left behind his fiancee, Kezia, who lives in Brisbane. He was 21 years old and was born in Cairns, Queensland. I also quote the recollections on 10 June 2010 of Sapper Jacob ‘Snowy’ Moerland by Major MJ Prior, OC in 2008-09 of 7CE Squadron, 2CER:

Jacob ‘Snowy’ Moerland was the sort of person you’d picture in your mind when someone used the term ‘Sapper’. When I first met him, he was a relatively junior soldier in what was a young Squadron at 2 CER; however, he soon became known as one of the Squadron characters. This was no mean feat amidst a strong field of similar personalities.

Snowy was a reliable and proactive soldier, who would put considerable effort and focus into solving whatever challenges were thrown his way. Once given a task, he showed determination and imagination in getting a solution. He soon gained a reputation for being a ‘go-to’ sort of Sapper and was a valuable member of his Section, Troop, and Squadron teams.

Snowy was an enthusiastic Sapper, who loved soldiering. He was especially happy when performing his trade in the field, and looked forward to field deployments whenever they arose. No matter how wet, cold, muddy or hot it was, Snowy was in the thick of the task, cajoling or cursing as the situation befitted, but always giving his all.

His Troop Commander once remarked that “If only we had a troop full of Snowy’s we would be unstoppable.” While not the most perfect and disciplined soldier by any standard, a commander could not ask for more commitment and a better attitude towards doing the job that he loved than what we got from Snowy. He is a testament to the traditional ‘can-do’ fighting spirit of the Sapper and Aussie digger.

For all this, Snowy knew how to have fun. He had an extroverted sense of humour and at times disturbing sense of fashion. One of the first recollections of people who knew him is this sense of fin. While he occasionally had to be reminded that there was work on, Snowy’s approach to his duty was infectiously enthusiastic, and he was often doing his best to raise or maintain his friend’s morale, especially during difficult tasks. This could include acts like camming up, to the point of camming his hair, and sniffing people to see how they’d react.

One of Snowy’s trademarks was the aviator sunglasses he constantly wore with the huge grin on his face. When you picture Snowy, this image leaps to the forefront. Be it in DPCU or going out clothes, the sunnies and the grin were a constant.

I believe Snowy matured quickly within the Squadron, and with time would have become a very capable junior commander. He struck a good balance between his sense of duty and sense of fun. He will be greatly missed by his Family, the Regiment and Army.

I believe there is no greater honour than for a man or woman to serve his or her country and to wear the uniform of Australia. The commitment, the dedication and the ultimate sacrifice that Sapper Jacob Moerland paid with his life at just 21 will never be forgotten by his family, his community, his friends and Australia. Today I pay tribute to Jacob, and my thoughts and prayers are and will remain with his family and friends. I also paid tribute to Darren today, and my thoughts and prayers are and will remain with his family and friends also.