Major Pickering to take salute
GEOFF and Denise Pickering found plenty of places they'd like to live, but chose Warwick for very specific reasons.
"Denise and I searched an area from Bundaberg in the north, to Port Macquarie in the south and inland to Gayndah, Kingaroy, Boonah, Glen Innes and Armidale," Mr Pickering said.
"We found a few properties we could afford, as well as towns and districts we liked, but not all in the same place - until Warwick.
"We bought here in January, 2012 and shortly afterwards joined the Warwick RSL Sub-branch where I thought I might be of assistance in the welfare system here, primarily to help younger veterans returning from the recent conflicts."
The Pickerings had farmed fruit and vegetables at Gympie and were successfully self-sufficient in that regard.
Heart surgery put an end to the larger farm and forced to couple to seek something smaller, while still enjoying their fruit and vegie growing.
Mr Pickering grew up in suburban Brisbane but experienced the country lifestyle around a Border Ranges dairy while still at primary school.
After secondary school, he gained an electrical apprenticeship but was much influenced by his grandfather's Boer War service and the exploits of our Second World Way veterans.
He joined the Army Reserve (1RQR) and in 1962, applied for and gained entry to the Regular Army's Officers Cadet School at Portsea, Victoria.
There he followed postings within Armoured Corps to units such as A Squadron, 4/19 Prince of Wales Light Horse Regiment, the 1st Armoured Regiment Reconnaissance Troop, and instructing National Service officer cadets in advanced field training.
In 1970, the then Captain Pickering was posted as a staff officer to HQ, Australian Force Vietnam (AFV) in Saigon and spent a short period as Aide de Camp, for the commander of AFV.
After overseas service, Captain Pickering served as a staff officer, trainer and small unit commander in South Australia, Canberra, Papua New Guinea and finally Queensland where, as a major he resigned after 23 years' service in 1985.
Mr Pickering had a life-changing experience when he became a Christian in 1993.
He met Denise in 2002, and they were married a year later.
During his time in Gympie, Mr Pickering served in several committee positions in Scouts, the SES, Landcare and Chamber of Commerce. He also made time to teach seven scripture classes weekly in local primary schools.
As Warwick's Anzac Day reviewing officer, retired Major Pickering will take the salute on the dais outside the Town Hall in Palmerin St when the Digger's Column, school groups, clubs and service organisations pass.
He will be the guest speaker at the Anzac service at the cenotaph.