Rare Spares Rockynats adds to a great Legacy

Published on 02 April 2021

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Legacy - the iconic Australian Defence Force families support charity - and the 2021 Rare Spares Rockynats are the perfect partnership according to Brisbane motoring enthusiast Charles Harley.

And he should know having clocked up 28 years in the services after joining the Australian Army apprentice system in1975, at just 15 years of age.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think the government does as much as it could do to support defence families and ex-defence people,” Harley said.

“So, it’s left up to a whole bunch of organisations – Legacy being one of those – to provide for the families of Australian Defence Force men and women [who have lost their life or health],” he said.

“I really hope this partnership with Rockynats continues well into the future,” he said.

After retiring 16 years ago, Harley kept his finger in the Defence pie as the developer and provider of computer systems to help with maintenance, parts ordering and workshop scheduling, employing 35 employees and sub-contractors at its peak.

“I then had to go back and teach them how to use it, so I was never far from the services,” he smiled.

Harley was talking as he and wife Kerrina put an extra layer of polish on their head turning 1957 Chevvy Bel Air two-door hard top ahead of the 800-car-strong Good Friday street parade.

And it seems getting the couple from COVID locked down Brisbane to Rockhampton on time was itself an exercise in military precision.

“We got here the day before the COVID lockdown started in Brisbane.

“But when we read the Queensland Health website, we realised as Brisbane residents we had to comply with the regulations, so we stayed in our motel for three days before getting out at lunchtime Thursday.

“We cut it fine, but we made it,” Harley said.

Legacy Rockhampton and Central Queensland Chairman Brian Hollins said the aim is to alleviate social or financial disadvantage for widows and their families from Emerald to Biloela, Blackwater and Gladstone and all points in-between.

“We find a lot of our widows in nursing homes already felt isolated before COVID, so we get them together once a month for a morning tea or a lunch or a game of Bingo to help them socialise.

“With our younger families, we like to talk to them about the sort of support they need, such as advocacy with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure they get their proper entitlements.

“No women or children should be disadvantaged because they have lost the head of the family, so our aim is to support and guide them and if they need financial support, we help them out with that as well.

“And thanks where it is due; the Rockhampton Regional Council and Advance Rockhampton have been great supporters of ours, particularly over the past five years,” he said.

Gold Coast H.O.G.S TM director Rob Hunt said his chapter members are also pleased Legacy is this year’s beneficiary.

“We have so many current and ex-servicemen and women in our ranks across the country that have a close association with Legacy, so we see it as a very fitting partnership,” Hunt said.

With 4000 volunteers nationally, Legacy looks after 48,000 beneficiaries across the country, while the Legacy Rockhampton and Central Queensland operations are run with the support of 22 volunteers.

The office is located at Suite 3 Tobruk House, 8 Archer St, Rockhampton – phone 4922 4010.

The 2021 Rare Spares Rockynats is presented by Rockhampton Regional Council, Naming Rights Sponsor Rare Spares and supporting precinct and event sponsors.