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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 29 November 2014
SATURDAY 29 NOVEMBER 2014 17 FEATURE at the buffer zone ar with the help of the ers, S ar with ers, Sgt Anne Brooks, Dave Ayres and Robert Gray, who assisted the operation. Yet the exhibition is still honest about the everyday dangers of being stationed in an extremely volatile place. One of the biggest threats to the officers is the reality that the buffer zone is covered in unexploded landmines. Three brave Australians have lost their lives for that reason. Sergeant Llewelyn Thomas was killed in 1969, Inspector Patrick Hackett was killed in 1971 and Sergeant Ian Ward was killed in 1974. One of Ms Spencer's favourite inclusions in the exhibition is the first hand account of Sergeant Llewelyn Thomas' brother finding out about his brother's death while serving for Victoria Police. "I still recall in July 1969 when our sergeant came into the watch house at the police station and informed me my brother Llewelyn had been killed in Cyprus," he recalls. "I was shocked to the point of uncontrollable tears before I could pull myself together." As peacekeepers, the AFP have no powers of arrest, no powers of detention and no powers of charging. That is left to the local police. Much of what is exhibited shows the daily life of living in a divided capital and the way the Aussie spirit still lives on away from home. As peacekeepers, the Australians have been able to spearhead some joint Turkish and Greek visits. It’s a good thing being an Australian in Cyprus, the large ethnic community in Australia helps. There have been many occasions where they have been shouting angrily and demonstrating but after a few hours, curiosity gets the better of them and someone asks ‘where in Australia are you from?’. The reaction is a general comment like, ‘oh, you must know my cousin!’. It brings a smile to your face. - Barry Carpenter, commander of the 50th contingent As true sports-mad Aussies, they felt a game of darts would be a way to improve relations and embarked on the first joint darts competition. Up until 1993 neither side, since the Turkish intervention, had any contact on a social level whatsoever. "They had been friends for years but hadn't seen each other for some time. It helped break down barriers," Ms Spencer says. The connection with the Australian Cypriot community isn't lost in the exhibition either. Mentioned in the first-hand account of Barry Carpenter, a commander of the 50th Contingent, the AFP officers are never far away from a Greek Cypriot seeking news of their family members settled in Australia. "It's a good thing being an Australian in Cyprus, the large ethnic community in Australia helps," he says. "It's one of the main reasons we're accepted by the people on the streets. There have been many occasions where they have been shouting angrily and demonstrating but after a few hours, curiosity gets the better of them and someone asks 'where in Australia are you from?'. The reaction is a general comment like, ‘oh, you must know my cousin!’. It brings a smile to your face." Robin Wheeler assists with food delivery to a Marionite community in northern Cyprus (1998). PHOTOS: AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE MUSEUM. ‘Down to the Wire: Australian Police Peacekeeping in Cyprus’ is on until February 8 and is located in the Open Collections Gallery of the Canberra Museum and Gallery, Cnr London Circuit and Civic Square, Canberra City. The exhibition is an Australian Federal Police Museum project. 4). Paul Roland and Clifford Cooke talk to a villager (1985). The Australian peacekeepers organised a darts competition between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots in 1993.
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