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Timor hero to start 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

by Peter Campbell on 9 Nov 2000
Official Starter of the 2000 Telstra Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race will be Lieutenant General Peter Cosgrove, AC, MC, the Commander of INTERFET (International Forces for East Timor) and now Chief of Army, based in Canberra.

At the official launch of the Race at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia today, Mr Dick Simpson, Group Managing Director, Telstra OnAir, announced that General Cosgrove had accepted the prestigious role for the CYCA’s 56th annual ocean race to Tasmania.

Lieutenant General Cosgrove joins an impressive list of prominent Australians who have sent the fleet on their way to Hobart since the race began in 1945, but is probably the first serving Army General to do so.

While not a gunner, he will certainly have the expertise to fire the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s historic cannon to start the fleet at 1300 hours (1pm) on Boxing Day, 26 December 2000.

The CYCA has received applications to enter the race from 88 boats, including the biggest line-up of maxi and pocket maxi yachts in years, with entries from all Australian States and overseas from Bermuda, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Born in Sydney in 1947, General Cosgrove was educated at Waverley College before entering the Royal Military College in 1965. On graduation in 1968 he was allotted to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and posted to the 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR). After several months service with the Battalion in Australia and Malaysia, he was posted to the 9th Battalion, RAR in South Vietnam where he commanded a rifle platoon. He was subsequently awarded the Military Cross for service in Vietnam.

On returning to Australia in 1970, he was posted to the Methods of Instruction Team, until 1972, when he spent a year as Aide-de-Camp to His Excellency the Governor-General. From 1973 to 1975 he served as a company Second in Command, Adjutant, and Company Commander in the 5th Battalion, RAR, before in 1976 being posted as an Officer Instructor of Tactics at the Infantry Centre.

In 1983 he became the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, RAR and was subsequently appointed a member of the military division of the Order of Australia for his service with the Battalion. In 1984 he became the Australian Army Exchange Instructor at the British Army Staff College, Camberly in the UK.

From 1995 until December 1996 he was the Commandant of the Australian Defence Warfare Centre at Williamtown NSW. In 1997 he was appointed the Commandant of the Royal Military College of Australia.

He was appointed as Commander 1st Division and Deployable Joint Force Headquarters in March 1998, and commanded INTERFET (International Forces for East Timor). In March 2000 he was appointed a Companion in the Military Division of the Order of Australia and a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of his services as Commander INTERFET. From March 2000 until June 2000 he was Land Commander -- Australia.

Lieutenant General Cosgrove assumed his current appointment as Chief of Army on 16 July 2000.

Lieutenant General Cosgrove is married to Lynne and has three sons: Stephen, Philip and David. He is a keen sportsman who supports rugby and plays golf and occasionally cricket. His other interests include reading and music.

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