News

War vets dive into fear

VETERAN DIVERS: Tony Hopeley-Smith, Chrissy Hewitt, Paul Taylor, Scott Christensen and Scott Miles.
VETERAN DIVERS: Tony Hopeley-Smith, Chrissy Hewitt, Paul Taylor, Scott Christensen and Scott Miles.

SOLDIERS battling the traumas of war have faced their fears by diving with sharks off the Coffs Coast this week.

Soldier On, a veteran's organisation that helps wounded veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, regularly runs challenging adventure to test ex-serviceman and woman and help them make an emotional connection with their communities.

On the advice of local Gulf War veteran Scott Miles, Soldier On brought five veterans who had served in the Australian Army and navy to Coffs Harbour to get their Open Water Diving licences.

"It's all about us facing our fears," Scott said.

"When you return from war with PTSD, there are two ways you can deal with it - you can sit in a pub all day or at home drinking in a pity party, or you can see a psychologist, deal with the issue and take part in these activities, which are offered to returned veterans that are not provided by the government."

The Soldier On diving class take to the depths of South Solitary Island.
The Soldier On diving class take to the depths of South Solitary Island.

Serving Afghanistan and Iraq veteran Blake Simmons, who has acted as a mentor for the group, said it was easier for soldiers to deal with the impacts of PTSD when they were surrounded by those who shared the condition.

"I'm fortunate not to have suffered PTSD following my campaigns, yet I've seen how these experiences build resilience and allow the soldiers to overcome their anxieties," Blake said.

"They may have only been grey nurse sharks but the very act of these guys deep sea diving has taken them outside of their comfort zones."

Topics:  coffs coast coffs harbour diving



Coffs Coast workers unhappy about penalty rate cuts

BOILING POINT: Coffs Coast workers are largely unhappy with the cut in Sunday and public holiday penalty rates.

Workers outraged by cuts which could cost some $6000 a year

Look out for clues to unlock game blues

MATCH THE HATCH: Attack wings onto skirted lures to make them imitate flying fish when game fish are busting through schools of them.

Follow the old fly fishing adage of "match the hatch”.

Coffs Hotel celebrates 80 years

IN THE BAR: Coffs Hotel Crew 1930's style. Ray Alaban, Sunday Faynes, 90-year-old Alby McLean (who worked at the hotel when he was 20), Wally the jester (at rear) and publican Marty Philips welcome all to come celebrate.

The doors first opened at this beloved family-owned local in 1937

Local Partners

Coffs Hotel celebrates 80 years

She has seen good times and bad. Fire, flood and the forming of friendships are all part of the history of this distinctive brick building in the middle of town


REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Messing with your head

MIND BLOWN: What could be weirder than the realisation that we have another completely separate brain and nervous system than the one originating in our heads?

Fascinating connection between your gut and your brain

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

Sir Elton will come to Mackay and Cairns in September.

Tickets to the concert go on sale on March 14

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

GET a sneak peek at Green Day's American Idiot The Musical as we go behind the scenes to meet the stars at a QPAC rehearsal.

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

Reality TV show gives Maryborough a boost

*WARNING EMBARGOED until 9.15pm Monday January 30* Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight. Supplied by Channel 9.

Maryborough looks good on reality TV show.

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

LOVERS: Grant and Chris have been together for more than three years, and Chris' parents refuse to acknowledge their son's fiance.

Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

A taste of the country life without the hard work

HERITAGE PARK: This home on the cover of the Real Estate Property Guide has everything you love about semi-rural living.

Get a taste of the country life without all the hard work

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!