Darren Coggan Darren Coggan

Gladstone Park Marina

on November 8, 2012. Posted in Gigs, War Stories Regional Tour 2012

I was really looking forward to playing in Gladstone again, each time we have toured here it has been a memorable event and this visit was no exception. Prior to our arrival, I was contacted by an amazing lady by the name of Jo-Anne Leeson, a teacher at Rosella Park State School in Gladstone. This school is a special school environment with 64 students from 6 years old to 17 years old. Their students have a range of disabilities from intellectual impairment, physical impairments to autism spectrum disorder. This year the school is participating in the ‘Read to Remember’ national event. This event is designed to promote the wellbeing of children and young people by engaging them in the importance of Remembrance Day. The theme for this year’s Read to Remember event is courage.

As part of this event, Rosella Park State School asked if I could join them to sing some songs and share some stories from my ‘War Stories’ show. I was honoured to be invited and fortunately our schedule permitted this incredible experience for me. I performed ‘The Nek’ (about a soldier waiting for the whistle to blow and praying for the courage to hop the bags and run onto the machine guns in the Gallipoli trenches) and ‘My Worry Not Yours’ (about the courage of the great John Simpson & His Donkey saving the lives of hundreds of wounded soldiers with no thought of his own safety). I shared with them my thoughts on the importance of remembering those diggers who demonstrated qualities of mateship, humour and courage. It was a fabulous afternoon and we ended up all singing along to Waltzing Matilda and True Blue at the end of the day. The local media were there including a local newspaper and Channel 7 news and the kids thought it was magic! It was a very rewarding experience for me and indeed these young children showed me a new definition of courage!

Our show here in Gladstone was very unique and one I shall always remember – it was in a tent! Not just any tent, a magnificent tent that the staff transformed into a theatre by the marina – it was incredible! The reason for this was that their usual theatre, the Gladstone Entertainment Centre, is currently under going a major upgrade due for completion in September 2013, and it is going to be amazing! We had pretty much a full house and the unique atmosphere of this venue really added to the occasion – thanks Gladstone!