Ever since the earliest days of Federation, civilian volunteers and reservists have helped form the backbone of Australia’s defences, whether in times of war by providing a platform for mobilisation, or in moments of crisis such as natural disasters by helping out on the ground.

Depending on the country’s changing military needs and commitments (and these have been many) the role of the reserves has waxed and waned over the decades. In recent years, however, that role has taken on increasing value through the support the reservists provide to the regular units of the Army, Air Force and Navy, not just on home soil but also serving overseas.

Among their number are former “regulars” of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as well as civilians who have dedicated years of their lives outside of work to serving as reservists.  They come from all walks of life and hold an array of different jobs, each requiring their own skills – both at CBA and in the roles they perform with the ADF. These are the stories of some of CBA’s reservists.

Angus Bell

Angus Bell is a senior core product analyst with the technology division, based at The Foundry in South Eveleigh, Sydney, NSW. He joined CBA in 1985. He has served in the Reserves since 1983, becoming a Trooper in One Commando and earning his Green Beret. From his early days as an Officer Cadet, he has risen to his current rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, serving as Special Forces advisor to Australian Theatre Headquarters and ADF Special Projects

What does being a reservist mean to you?

Put simply, it’s been the way of playing my small part in the service to Australia.

What does Anzac Day mean to you?

For me personally, it’s the respect for all serving and former servicemen and servicewomen who I have known or had a connection with in one way or another in my nearly 40 years of service. In particular Private Sean Ryan, a close mate of mine, who died while doing his Green Beret training with me in 1983, and the other 32 Commandos who have died in service, in training and on operational duty in Afghanistan since 1955. It’s also about showing support to former members and their families of One Commando Regiment and the Royal NSW Regiment associations. More broadly, it’s remembering the fallen and respecting the sacrifice they made for their country since Federation.

What does working at and having CBA’s support for you as a reservist mean to you?

Working for an organisation since 1985 that respects and values our service to the nation and which benefits from the skills obtained from our service as reservists. The ADF teaches our reservists to be highly effective communicators, to operate effectively in a team and to be self-disciplined and reliable in their assigned tasks, and above all to be trustworthy and loyal.

Ken Docksey

Ken Docksey is a transaction banking specialist, based in Bathurst, NSW, working for regional & agribusiness banking in the business bank. He joined CBA in 1984 at Rooty Hill branch in NSW.

His service in the Reserves saw him rise to the rank of Sergeant in the Army in his first ten year stint between 1983 and 1993 after which Ken re-enlisted in 2006. He is currently a Corporal and section commander with the Military Police Reserves based at Holsworthy in Sydney.

What does being a reservist mean to you?

It’s representing my country, it’s serving the community, it’s giving back to a place that has provided so much to me, my family and my friends, and it’s ultimately defending Australia’s values and interests both here and globally. I personally derive great pride and satisfaction from serving, learning and acquiring skills I normally would not have access to and then applying those same skills in my civilian life both at my day job and when not at work.

What does Anzac Day mean to you?

I’ll start by saying what it doesn’t mean to me: it is not a celebration of war, but rather a solemn occasion to acknowledge the sacrifice generations of Australians and New Zealanders made and continue to make to enable the lifestyle we take for granted today.

It’s a time when I reflect and sometimes get a little emotional thinking about what was done for us.

It’s also a time when I try to encourage awareness with my colleagues, family, friends and the wider community.

What does working at and having CBA’s support for you as a reservist mean to you?

It means much more than any of my colleagues understand. I very much appreciate and never take for granted the unquestioned support I receive with my many requests for leave which allows me to train and sometimes “do the job” Defence [ADF] asks of me. I don’t know of many employers (outside of government agencies) who provide anywhere close to the level of support I receive.

Joshua Heazlewood

Joshua Heazlewood works for CBA’s retail banking services division in Sydney as an executive manager within the home buying team – helping thousands of customers to finance the purchase or sale of their home each year. He is a Captain in the Australian Army Reserves and spent most of 2020 deployed with Operation Bushfire Assist, helping communities on the south coast of NSW recover from the devastating fires during the summer of 2019/20. He has also served in Afghanistan.

What does being a reservist mean to you?

Being a reservist allows me to give back to my community, whilst being provided opportunity for unique experiences, challenges and skill development.

What does Anzac Day mean to you?

Anzac Day to me is a defining Australian tradition, to remember those who served their country during intense conflict, and in doing so created a spirit that shaped our national identity.

What does working at and having CBA’s support for you as a reservist mean to you?

To me, CBA’s ongoing support for my reserve service demonstrates the bank’s commitment to its people and allows me to bring the new skills and experiences I receive during my Army service back into the workplace.

Rowan Johnston

Rowan Johnston is a business banker, based in Tasmania, having joined CBA in 2018. He is currently an officer cadet in the reservists, training to become an officer after being a private in the infantry for 12 years, with some stints of full time service through his time in Defence.

What does being a reservist mean to you?

Being a reservist is a great opportunity for me to serve my country and challenge myself in a range of environments completely separate to my normal day to day job. I’ve had the opportunity to support a few live operations with defence, including Bushfire Assist where we made a serious difference to the local people affected by the fires and I am very proud for that opportunity.

What does Anzac Day mean to you?

Anzac Day is a day predominantly about the military community and day of remembering those who served with us and before us. It’s a day steeped in tradition where we see the local population supporting us and confirming that the role we play matters, and the sacrifice of those who have served is remembered.

What does working at and having the group’s support for you as a reservist mean to you?

The group has provided fantastic support to me as a reservist, including when I was pulled into Kangaroo Island to support the bushfires. Because I was given roughly six hours’ notice, it was a very hectic hand over process to my colleagues to support all my customers, but my team and the bank as a whole made sure it happened. The bank has also ensured that I have the time available to take off to support training courses and major exercises working with the US Army and the New Zealand Army.

Sheridan Kopec

Sheridan Kopec is a data and analytics graduate with Bankwest in Perth, Western Australia, where she has worked for a year. She is a Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, serving with the 10th Light Horse Regiment, and has been a reservist for more than two and a half years.

What does being a reservist mean to you?

Being a reservist provides me with a unique opportunity to learn new skills, challenge myself, and build resilience.​ I've learnt to look at problems differently, and often find myself using aspects of military planning to solve problems in my civilian career. During my time in Reserves, I have participated in training courses in various places in Australia and have made many life-long friends. Being around like-minded people with similar goals is one of my favourite aspects of being in the Reserves.

What does Anzac Day mean to you?

Anzac Day recognises the service and sacrifices made by past and present defence members. The unit I am currently posted to is steeped in military history and has received many battle honours, so celebrating Anzac Day is extremely important. It also provides a time to reflect on the ANZAC values such as courage, mateship, sacrifice and endurance, and how we can embody these in every aspect of our lives.

What does working at and having the group’s support for you as a reservist mean to you?

Having the group's support means that I can further my reserve career at no detriment to my civilian career. Often military leave and annual leave are mutually exclusive, however, I am encouraged to pursue army training opportunities, as well as take annual leave for holidays knowing that I have Bankwest's support.

Shane Niddrie

Shane Niddrie has worked in group security as a protective security manager, people & events, for the past eight years and manages physical threats to staff, security risks for group events, international travel risks & executive protection. Prior to joining CBA, he served in the Australian Army as a regular for 22 years, and since then has been a reservist for seven years. He is an

Infantry Captain in the Army Reserves and currently oversees the planning and conduct of his unit's training activities, including exercises, courses and baseline individual competencies.

What does being a reservist mean to you?

The Army Reserve provides me with a familiar professional environment that is both challenging and rewarding. I also get to serve with a broad range of like-minded soldiers. I definitely appreciate how my Army Reserve unit understands that family and work commitments are a part of the complexity of serving. Many of the skills I've gained during my reserve service are directly transferable to my CBA role.

What does Anzac Day mean to you?

For me, it is about pausing to remember those who served in past conflicts, many who never returned, as well as the lingering effects on those who served during the past and present. I also feel immense pride in how Australians have continued to commemorate this day for more than 100 years.

What does working at and having the Group’s support for you as a reservist mean to you?

There's a synergy between my role in the protective security team and the reserves, especially with risk management, teamwork and supporting those who need security advice and assistance. It's fantastic that CBA provides military leave for reservists who want to progress in their military careers. Personally, I feel very supported by my management when requesting time off for reserve service. They understand how the intangible benefits of this service is returned to the workplace.

Liam Stephens

Liam Stephens is a customer service specialist, working for the retail bank’s Victorian region as part of a branch team in Melbourne. In the reserves, Trooper Stephens is a Light Cavalryman, serving with the 4th/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse Regiment, 4th Brigade, Australian Army Reserves.

What does being a reservist mean to you?

Being a reservist allows me to honour those that have come before and those that will come after me. To be able to support my community and serve my nation and to be able to give back to the Australian people as well.

What does Anzac Day mean to you?

Anzac day is a day of honouring those that have and those that are currently serving, remembering them for what they gave for the country and being able to commemorate that. It’s also a day to be able to give back to the community who have supported us.  It is a day that is not only important for defence members and families, but all Australians. It’s a day for service to those who assisted with local, domestic and overseas operations.

What does working at and having CBA’s support for you as a reservist mean to you?

Knowing that I have CBA’s support for being in the reserve means that I can, with peace of mind, continue to be an active member in the reserve, contributing and assisting when the nation calls for our assistance. Whether it’s through disaster relief or an army exercise, knowing that CBA will continually support me gives me reassurance of continuous growth in the Army Reserve. Working at the CBA and being an army reserve member also gives me a unique opportunity to experience two vastly different job roles, where both roles have the same emphasis of protecting and serving the community as a whole.