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Neville Embodies The Spirit Of The Anzac

Story: Alyssa Mackay | Photo: Bruce Redman
Published On : May 26, 2022
Neville Embodies The Spirit Of The Anzac
The lifelong achievements of well-known local identity Neville Cullen have been celebrated.

Scarborough resident and Redcliffe RSL president Neville was announced the winner of the Spirit of the Anzac competition run by 99.7 Bridge FM in April.

He said he only found out about the competition after radio presenter and RSL Vice-President Cheryl Barrett told him that she had nominated him and he had won.

“It was a total surprise,” Neville said. “I was quite pleased and proud that she chose me.”

The competition sought Australians with military stories of gallantry and sacrifice. Author and artist George Petrou, OAM, selected Neville as the winner. He was awarded a special edition of George’s book, The Art of Sacrifice.

Neville said the book, which contains paintings and stories of Australians who have served their country proud, was absolutely fantastic.

“It’s a very good book containing a lot of articles on people who I admire,” he said.

Neville comes from a military background. His grandfather fought in Gallipoli and his parents both served in WW2. Neville joined the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps in 1964. 

He served two tours of Vietnam. On his second tour in 1971 he served as a Dustoff medic, taking helicopters into combat zones and evacuating casualties from the front line. 

“I had some pretty rough missions over there,” he said.

After Neville left the army in 1972, he studied to become a registered nurse, eventually going on to become the Director of Nursing at St Andrew’s Hospital in Ipswich.

Neville said his motivation to help people came from being a Dustoff medic.

“My desire to continue on in that way grew from actual duties in Vietnam, treating wounded soldiers,” he said.

After a break from nursing, Neville returned to operating theatres before becoming the Principal Policy Officer for Queensland Health. It was there he met a friend who was in the Redcliffe RSL.

“My grandfather, my father and my mother – they were all true Anzacs and there is a common thing in all forces and that is comradery and mateship,” Neville said. “I put that aside while I was doing 20 years of nursing. When you join the RSL and you find similar people in the same type of situation, it’s pretty easy to find that bond again.”

Neville has been a member of the Redcliffe RSL since 1997 and its president since 2007. During that time he has overseen the incorporation of the Sub Branch and the commission and dedication of the monument at Anzac Place.