Ballarat’s Dominic Hamon is one of a hardy breed.
The Australian Army sergeant survived five days in the Northern Territory outback, catching wallabies for food and desalinating water during a recent trilateral military survival exercise.
Sergeant Hamon, 31, took part in Exercise Kowari 16, which taught 30 participants from the Australian, Chinese and United States military how to survive in the Northern Territory outback.
He spent the first part of the exercise learning the basic principles, techniques and equipment of survival before putting his new skills to the test during a five-day survival phase where participants had to build shelter and find their own food and water.
Sergeant Hamon said his most memorable moment was when his group captured their first wallaby.
“We heard the hunting part yelling and thought, what was going on, it was such a primitive thing. There was excitement felt by all the camp,” Sergeant Hamon said.
“Apart from fish in the billabong there’s not much sustenance around, so thankfully on our first day we caught a good-sized roo which we gutted, skinned and butchered.
“It was a relief to know that what we’ve been trained, what they’ve shown us, we can apply and can succeed from it,” he said.
His biggest worry wasn’t finding food. It was water. Temperatures soared past the mid-30s during the exercise so the group set up several water purification methods, including boiling and desalinating to clean the water from the nearby billabong.
“We could go a couple of days without food but not water. We didn’t get much water on the first day, not even a litre; and a Chinese soldier changed the desalination technique and it produced about a litre an hour,” he said.
He found working with the American and Chinese an interesting experience.
“I find the Chinese very industrious. I believe they work a lot harder than us, it feels like they turn out things a lot faster and with great skill when they’re working with things like timber,” said Sergeant Hamon.
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