Operation Flinders Mission Statement:
“Operation Flinders Foundation is to provide young men and women who have been identified as being at risk, with demanding outdoor challenges and support, to help them develop their personal attitudes and values of self esteem, motivation, team work and responsibility so they may grow as valued members of the community.”
These young men and women are taken to a remote location in the Flinders Ranges, trekking 100kms over 8 days, where they are confronted with physical, emotional and psychological challenges in an isolated and unfamiliar environment.
Operation Flinders site: https://operationflinders.org.au/
While on a social excursion in September 2003, staying in the shearers quarters at Warraweena Station, several members of the Rotary Club of Mt Barker and their wives met volunteers from Operation Flinders and were impressed by their program.
On their return, Richard Harrington and David Pahl decided that the Rotary Club of Mt Barker should sponsor a team from the Hills to attend an Operation Flinders exercise. They secured the required funding and with the assistance of Operation Flinders staff Jonathon Robran and David Pahl, a team comprising students from Cornerstone College, St Francis de Sales College and Oakbank Area School was sent to Warraweena Station.
Feedback from the students and their parents and teachers was very supportive of the program so it was decided to continue our support of the ‘Hills Chapter’.
In the third year of the ‘Hills Chapter’ funding was becoming more difficult to find so it was decided that we had to raise the shortfall ourselves.
Richard Harrington bought our first mixer and robot donut cooker and with advice from Donut King he and Andy Byrne set up the old catering van. Our first catering engagements were the World Scout Jamboree, held at Woodhouse, and the Lobethal Lights.
With the assistance of Grant Piggott, Event Services Manager with the Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society of SA, and because we were both supporters of Operation Flinders, we were one of three groups allowed to cater at the Royal Adelaide Show outside of the normal catering contracts.
Our old catering van was very small, so the mixing of the dough had to be done in an annex using a drill and paint stirrer. The van was set up near Side Show Alley and was very noisy.
The Rotary Club of Mt Barker is very proud of the various financial and in-kind support we provide to Operation Flinders. This includes:
  • Hills Chapter
    • Assistance in funding one (sometimes two) teams
    • Fund cost of the bus and fuel to get them to and from the exercise
    • Provide drivers for the bus
  • Occasionally drive the visiting VIP’s around the property during exercises
  • Donated a motorbike and trailer
  • Assisted in funding the new kitchen, tractor and shed extension
  • Erected a 25m x 10m shed at Yankaninna Station
  • Funded the purchase and erection of a large rainwater tank at Yankaninna Station
  • Erected a 10m x 5m shed at Yankaninna Station
  • Andy Byrne made several trips to Yankaninna Station in his truck delivering construction material and bringing back machinery for sale.
  • Assisting at the Trailblazer Fun Run and later the Operation Flinders Challenge with catering and staffing of checkpoints.
During the period that Operation Flinders exercises were held at Warraweena Station a 15m x 10m truss shed was donated by Lysaght Steel and Murray Machining in Murray Bridge. A concrete slab was poured but they had to move out before the shed was built.
They then held exercises at Angapena and then Nepabunna before purchasing the Pastoral Lease at Yankaninna Station. Each time the shed was moved but never erected.
Now that Operation Flinders had a permanent home, Andy Byrne suggested that the Rotary Club of Mt Barker should erect it. This suggestion was adopted and in October 2015 several Rotarians and their wives travelled to Yankaninna to commence construction. Things did not start well with rock being encountered in the first three holes. It was decided to halt work until some jackhammers could be brought up, and instead went sightseeing.