Members of the Victorian Veterans Council

Lists members of the Victorian Veterans Council during the annual reporting period July 2020 – June 2021.

Roger Clifton, Chair

(Appointed 15 October 2019)

Roger has an extensive family background in the military with his father and uncles serving in World War Two. Both his father’s brothers paid the ultimate sacrifice with one being lost on HMAS Sydney when she was sunk off the Western Australian coast, and the other killed in action while serving in the Middle East and Mentioned in Despatches.

Roger served in Vietnam with 104 Signal Squadron in the early 70s as a conscript. He later had a four-decade career in Advertising and Marketing, as Managing Director of the Melbourne offices of three international advertising agencies, one of which he was a principal. He retired from full time work in 2008. Roger is also a Trustee of the Shrine of Remembrance and a Director of William Angliss Institute of TAFE.

Lieutenant Commander Pelagia Markogiannakis, Deputy Chair

(Appointed 6 February 2018, appointed Deputy Chair 29 January 2020)

Pela has been a Navy Reservist since 1986 and has attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander. She has held a variety of logistics, engineering and infrastructure related roles.

Pela is an engineer and certified project professional. She has been the Aide-de-Camp in Waiting to His Excellency the Governor of New South Wales and to His Excellency the Administrator of the Commonwealth of Australia. She is currently serving in a staff role to Shore Force at Fleet Headquarters, Sydney and is the Staff Officer for Reserves in Victoria reporting to the Head of Reserves in Canberra. Pela currently holds the executive infrastructure governance role with Major Road Projects Victoria.

Dr Ross Bastiaan AM RFD

(Appointed 1 January 2013)

Ross enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1975 and was attached to 3 Army Field Ambulance. In the Royal Australian Army Dental Corps (Res) he was promoted to Colonel Consultant and was attached to Defence Health Services Branch, Canberra.

Ross served on the Council of the Australian War Memorial from 1995 to 2009. Since 1990 he has personally placed over 290 multi-lingual, large bronze commemorative plaques at various locations around the world from Europe to the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. He has also written three books on WWI and WWII. Since 1978, Ross has worked in private practice as a periodontist.

Wing Commander Sharyn Bolitho RAAFAR

(Appointed 4 November 2015)

Sharyn Bolitho joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1987 and during her time in the RAAF she held postings on the staff of the Chief of Defence Force (working for Admiral Chris Barrie at the time of the terrorist attack on 11 September 2001) and was later responsible for joint operational personnel issues relating to deployment in 2002, receiving a Commendation from Commander Australian Theatre.

Sharyn was appointed Commanding Officer of Combat Support Unit East Sale in December 2008, transitioning to Commanding Officer No 30 (City of Sale) Squadron when it was reformed 1 July 2010. She left the Permanent Air Force in May 2012 to remain in Sale and accepted an appointment as Manager Economic Development at Wellington Shire Council. Sharyn transitioned back to RAAFAR in 2017 at RAAF Base East Sale and is now in an Executive Support and Heritage role.

Dan Cairnes

(Appointed 8 June 2021)

Dan served in the Australian Regular Army as an artillery officer where he fulfilled a range of regimental, operational and training appointments. The majority of his service was with 8th/12th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.

His operational deployments include Iraq (Operation Catalyst) and border protection (Operation Relex II). On leaving the Army, Dan entered the construction industry where he has worked in trade and management roles on building and infrastructure projects. Dan is a graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon and RMIT University.

Anita Hogan

(Appointed 24 March 2020)

Anita is a Royal Australian Navy veteran. She joined the Australian Defence Force at the age of 16 and served from 1994 to 2004. During that time, she trained as a Dental Assistant and worked at several ADF bases. After leaving the Australian Defence Force, Anita retrained and works as a Medication Endorsed Enrolled Nurse. Anita has lived experience of many of the issues facing contemporary veterans transitioning to civilian life.

She is a member of the RSL Cranbourne-Dandenong Sub-Branch where she has formed strong connections with the younger veteran cohort and provided welfare and advocacy support to them and is the Veterans Welfare Officer of the Armed Merchant Cruiser and Landing Ship Infantry Association of Australia. Anita is currently undertaking post-graduate studies in Suicidology and is a member of the Australian Institute of Suicide Research and prevention.

Lieutenant Commander Peta Irving RAN (RTD)

(Appointed 7 August 2018)

Peta joined the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service in 1983 after spending four years in the Army Reserve Artillery Corp. Peta joined as a Naval Supply Officer and was one of the first six females to serve at sea in a permanent position on the HMAS JERVIS BAY in 1985. While in the Navy Peta was logistics officer for Operation RELEX and specialised in IT logistic systems as a Project Manager. Peta has a Master of Business Administration and has graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Since leaving the Navy, Peta has been teaching and consulting in Project Management and Supply Chain and Logistics, mentoring and volunteering.

Kim Mcaliney

(Appointed 30 August 2016)

Kim McAliney joined the Veterans Council in 2016. Kim has had a long history of community involvement, both in Local Government and community level and has wide business experience. Former Wyndham City Mayor and Councillor and history of working in the aged care and retirement sector. Raising two sons, with a career spanning over 30 years, Kim has worked at accountancy firms, a multi-national company and a National Crisis Counselling Service and held numerous board directorships. Kim is FCPA qualified, has an Advanced Diploma in Public Safety (Emergency. Mgt), is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and currently studying Justice.

Kim is a Trust member and Chair of the Community Advisory Committee of the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trusts. Kim was recently elected as Director of the Royal Victorian Association of Honorary Justices (RVAHJ) and is Chair of the RVAHJ Bail Justice Advisory Committee, and a current serving Bail Justice and Justice of the Peace.

John McNeill

John has had extensive involvement in the veteran family advocacy and support space for the last ten years as a qualified advocate. He served as a rifleman with the First Battalion and served in East Timor in 2007.

John has battled his own personal medical constraints post service and now engages in supporting others requiring assistance throughout Australia to help them transition after service.

John holds positions within both state and national boards, such as the Deputy Commissioner’s Forum and the Operational Working Party, and also sits on the board of his local RSL - Dandenong/Cranbourne RSL.

John’s extensive involvement extends further by being the Director of a social enterprise - Aussie Veterans Pty Ltd - established in Melbourne in 2017.

Bruce Mildenhall

(Appointed 7 August 2018)

Bruce is not a veteran but has broad experience and strong personal interest in the veteran sector. He is currently involved in commemorative activities as Chair of the Mt Macedon ANZAC Dawn Service and has assisted as support rider in the Vietnam Veteran Vetride. Bruce’s father was a Rat of Tobruk and his maternal grandfather an officer in the ANZAC Light Horse.

As a former State MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Veterans’ Affairs, Bruce assisted in the drafting of Victoria’s veterans’ legislation, the Veterans Act 2005, and led the first Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize tour to the Western Front.

Ken Tsirigotis

(Appointed 25 August 2020)

Ken Tsirigotis completed 22 years of service in the Australian Regular Army in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. The majority of his service was as a Reconnaissance soldier at the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (Parachute). His overseas service has included exchanges and regimental duties to Indonesia, New Zealand, France, Belgium, Thailand, the UK and Switzerland. Operational experiences include, International Forces East Timor (1999-2000), United Nations Transitional Authority East Timor (2002), Timor-Leste Battle Group Three as part of the Ready Company Group deployment (2008) Timor-Leste Battle Group Four (2008) and Operation Slipper as a Mobile Mentoring Team Commander in the Uruzgan Province Afghanistan (2012).

Ken has been awarded various Australian Defence Force (ADF) awards including the Soldiers Medallion for Exemplary Service, Commander 1st Division Commendation (Bronze), Deputy Chief of Joint Operations Commendation (Bronze) and ADF Commendation (Silver). Ken transferred from the Australian Regular Army in 2016 taking up employment with Melbourne Legacy and has held various roles, most recently as the Chief Operating Officer, where he manages the engagement supporting service delivery operations of the organisation.

S. Jamie Twidale CSM

(Appointed 17 March 2020)

Jamie is Chief Executive Officer of the Returned and Services League (RSL) Victorian State Branch. Through his 22-year career in the full time Army Jamie saw active service in Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands as well as being stationed in Malaysia. Jamie was awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal in 2006 for his leadership and dedication to duty and was awarded an Army Commendation for outstanding service in 2007. As an Army Reserve member Jamie deployed to Gippsland as part of Operation Bushfire Assist in January 2020.

Jamie has worked in senior management roles with the State Emergency Service in Queensland and Victoria as well as the Country Fire Authority and most recently with the Environment Protection Authority (Victoria).

Jamie is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, holds a Master of Business Administration, a Post Graduate Certificate in Security, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Studies and a Bachelor of Social Science (Emergency Management).

Elizabeth Brown

(Member from 30 September 2014 – 1 September 2020)