Project Description

Laurie G. CLARK (know as Algy) was born in Brisbane, Queensland in 1927. He was brought up on the family’s sheep property on the Darling Downs and had a younger brother. He schooled at Grace Fields Primary and Brisbane State High School and left to join the Army at 16 and went to Duntroon Military College.

Laurie talks about his family’s reaction to him becoming a career soldier. He spent seven years at Duntroon, three years as a student and four as an instructor, and reached the rank of Colonel. He graduated in 1947 and went to Japan, returning in 1949. He tells of his experiences there over several terms of duty, including serving in the Korean War.

He met a girl at the Canadian Red Cross while in Japan and they married and had four children. Laurie spent 1959 at the Australian Embassy in Washington. Next he was stationed with the Special Air Services (SAS) Unit in Swanbourne in 1961. He was an Australian Adviser in Vietnam in 1962 for the SAS.

After Vietnam he went to the Jungle Training Centre, was stationed at Defence Headquarters in Canberra from 1968-1969 and went with a team to the USA to purchase helicopters. Laurie’s first wife died in 1970 and he met Patricia soon after. They married and brought up his four children.

From 1970 to 1972 Laurie was Commanding Officer of the SAS at Swanbourne with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In 1973 he was Inspector of Establishment at the Australian Headquarters in Canberra and transferred to the CMF. From 1974 to 1977 he was involved in training officer cadets and was Commander of the Unit from 1978 to 1980 when he retired.

He became a Land Valuer with the Valuer General’s Office, and from 1980 to 1989 was National President of the Australian Defence Association.

In 1990 he came to Busselton and served on the Shire Council for three years. Laurie was awarded 11 medals over his career, including the British War Medal. He wrote a book, Bulldust Baffles Brains, about the re-introduction of national service.