Growing up in Dubbo, Adam Sunderland was always intrigued by the army. “I have a passion for helping out and doing my part for the country,” he said.
When he joined the army, he went in with a concrete plan to become a combat engineer. Fate had other ideas.
“When I went through the recruitment phase, they said I could join as a tradesman. When I told them I was already a carpenter they said they were crying out for carpenters, so I signed up. I became a carpenter/joiner in the army for 12 years and I finished my time as a Corporal Site Foreman.”
It was a job that saw him building the world over. “I was a part of the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program, where I travelled around to remote Aboriginal communities in Australia and built up their infrastructure,” Adam explained. “Outside Australia, I was a part of humanitarian aid work in Vanuatu when the cyclone hit. We rebuilt the wing of a hospital to get them up and running again. I went to Bougainville in Papua New Guinea and built a school for a tribe in the hills. I did a tour of Afghanistan and was part of reconstruction efforts. I went to Iraq too, where I was part of a camp maintenance team. We were there to enhance the training capabilities of the infantry and engineers. From building training aids and camp maintenance, to building new builds, we do a lot of different things.”
The job came with its challenges as Adam had to be prepared for anything. “You couldn’t just duck into Bunnings if you needed some screws,” he laughed.
Adam now lives in Canowindra with his wife Renae and boys Lachlan and Angus. He credits his wife with his success in the military. “I am very lucky that I have a supportive wife. Without her, my time in the army would have been really tough,” he said.
“I would encourage people to look into the army, particularly with a trade. If you join the army to get a trade, you come out as a qualified tradesman,” Adam finished.