Air Force firefighter Sergeant Brendan Fraser is preparing to take part in the largest ever Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, taking place in Sydney from October 17-19.
Sergeant Fraser, who grew up in Canberra, will perform ceremonial duties with Australia’s Federation Guard (AFG) in a cast of 1500 people from 13 countries performing in the traditional Scottish event at ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park.
This is only the fourth time the Tattoo has been held in Australia.
Set against a full-size replica of Edinburgh Castle, the renowned Scottish spectacular will bring the world’s finest pipers, fiddlers, drummers, military musicians and performers for a unique mix of music, ceremony, military tradition, theatre and Celtic folklore while also focusing on Australia and the South Pacific nations.
When he joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 2005, Corporal Fraser felt like it was a “natural choice”.
“Some of my family members had served in the Australian Defence Force (ADF),” he said.
“I’ve always been into sport. Being active and living the service life allowed me to incorporate that into my job.”
Corporal Fraser joined the RAAF as an air field defence guard before re-training to become a firefighter.
A highlight of his military career was serving with AFG during the centenary of Anzac events in Belgium and France last year.
“It was such a unique experience,” he said.
“Standing in the places where those events happened 100 years ago was really special.”
Other highlights include his deployments to overseas operations – Operation Slipper (Afghanistan) and Operation Accordion (Middle East region) and, of course, the forthcoming Tattoo.
Corporal Fraser is looking forward to the Tattoo experience and meeting performers from the Cook Islands, Fiji, France, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Tonga, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu.
“I wasn’t really aware of the Tattoo before enlisting so being immersed in something I’ve never been exposed to before will be really exciting,” he said.
The word tattoo is derived from a Dutch word for the signal played on a drum or bugle to summon soldiers back to their barracks at night. The term evolved in the 18th century to mean a form of evening performances given by military bands.
Dating back almost 70 years, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo was inspired by a simple show called Something About a Soldier performed in 1949 at the Ross Bandstand below Edinburgh Castle.
The ADF has provided a range of ceremonial and logistical support to the Tattoo including more than 250 cast members, air and ground transport and co-ordination for participating nations.
The Tattoo will feature all the hallmark elements of this world-famous military and cultural event with unique Australian and international acts added to the programme. Traditional crowd favourite songs Auld Lang Syne and Scotland The Brave will also feature in addition to contemporary favourites.
From a modest event in a park, the Tattoo has become a worldwide phenomenon, with a remarkable live audience of 220,000 at Edinburgh Castle each August and a global TV audience of 100 million.