Heroes and Villains

War brings out the best and worst in people

Host – Jared Archibald

Bringing Reg Hillier Home

Bob Shewring

Reg Hillier was the only Territorian to die on active service in Vietnam. His family could not afford the cost of bringing his body home. Eventually, public agitation resulted in his remains being brought back for interment at Adelaide River. The Hillier story is a parable for our commemoration of all Vietnam veterans. Bob Shewring, President of Veterans Australia NT, led the campaign to ‘bring Reg Hillier home’.

People from the Past

Various Festival Authors

One of the richest rewards of research and writing is the discovery of people who might otherwise be lost to history. It is a process that brings personality to the pages of a book, personalities that might be noble or base, heroic or cowardly. It can also bring out all the drama of human adventure in extraordinary circumstances. Festival authors will speak about their favourite war-related personalities that they have discovered during their work.

Perhaps audience members will want to nominate their heroes and villains?

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Jared Archibald

Jared Archibald has worked in the museum sector for 26 years. He spent 16 years as the taxidermist at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT), and is now employed there as the Curator of Territory History. He has a keen interest in Northern Territory history, with special emphasis on its rich military history. He was part of the team that developed the Defence of Darwin Experience at East Point, and was the Lead Curator for the recently opened Unruly Days: Life in the Territory 1911-1921 exhibition at MAGNT. Researching and telling the stories of the people, places, events, and objects that have shaped the Northern Territory into what it is today is his primary research focus.

Bob Shewring

Bob is a third generation Territorian and the son of one of the soldiers who arrived in Darwin in 1934 with the first regular Army detachment posted to the town. Bob has devoted most of his life to making the Territory a better place and he has held a multitude of voluntary positions in community and sporting organisations. He served in the regular Army for six years and saw active service in Vietnam. As President of the N.T. Veteran’s Association he initiated Operation Bring Them Home, which was committed to bringing home the bodies of 25 Australians who were killed on active service in Vietnam. 40,000 signatures were gathered in an eventually successful community movement that lobbied State and Federal governments on the issue. ‘It rights a terrible wrong of the Vietnam war’ Bob said when the body of former Territorian Reg Hillier was repatriated for burial at Adelaide River. Bob continues to work vigorously for the welfare of veterans and their families. His current priority is the reduction of the rate of suicides among veterans and serving military personnel.

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