PARLIAMENT HOUSE, Canberra: It seems that there have been too many of these condolence motions lately. It is all too recently that we spoke in this place about five young military men who gave their lives in Afghanistan. Despite the fact that we have had many such motions before, it does not diminish the great sadness over loss of life that we share today as we mourn the loss of Sapper Jordan Ronald Penpraze. So I too rise to offer condolences over the loss of Sapper Jordan Ronald Penpraze, who tragically died from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident on the Holsworthy range on Monday, 8 October 2012. We mourn with his family, his friends and his partner, Jacinta.
Jordan’s father, Daryl, said he could not have been more proud of a son who achieved everything he had ever wanted. Mr Penpraze said Jordan had matured greatly during the last six months and grown into a strong young man. Daryl described his son as a ‘a good mate’ with ‘a great sense of humour’ who ‘never whinged about a hard days work’ and said:
“He put his head down and got on with the job.”
So that is what his proud dad said.
Jordan’s grandmother, Lavina Penpraze, said her grandson had been determined to establish his career and had been looking forward to moving to Townsville with partner Jacinta. Jordan had recently told his grandmother, Lavina, that he had never worked so hard in his life. She added:
”But he really enjoyed it and decided it was what he wanted to.”
She described him as ‘a gentle person and a very caring and sensible young lad’.
Jordan was from Mornington in Victoria. He had enlisted in the Australian Regular Army as recently as April of this year. Poignantly, he had just completed his final field assessment and had been only days away from graduation as a sapper in Royal Australian Engineer Corps initial employment training when the accident occurred. Sapper Penpraze was described as a promising young soldier who excelled in his training at the Australian Army School of Military Engineering and looked forward to deployment in Afghanistan or beyond, helping soldiers on the move by building bridges and clearing roads of improvised explosive devices and minefields. Jordan had his heart set on a lifelong career in the armed forces. He was, from all reports, exactly the sort of soldier this country needs to defend our nation and support peace and safety around the world.
Jordan maintained his enthusiasm during field training exercises, receiving excellent reports in all field activities. He had a leadership role during this phase of the course on the basis of his previous experience in watermanship.
A homegrown hero already, the determined 22-year-old had recently been hailed for quick thinking that helped save a life. While they were on local leave in Liverpool, he and another soldier successfully resuscitated an elderly citizen, Jordan maintaining CPR until an ambulance arrived.
Friends and colleagues described Sapper Penpraze as a respected and very well liked member of his troop. A quiet and stoic sapper intent on performing to the best of his ability, he took on all lessons immediately with maturity and a strong desire for self-improvement. Sapper Penpraze’s commitment to his section and his mates saw him complete his work with no reservations or complaints. He is described as one who would rather take the hard job or the heavy load to spare a mate who was doing it tough, and it was his selfless commitment to his mates that made him such a respected member of 3 Troop. Sapper Penpraze completed everything he did to a high standard. He excelled at his beloved watermanship, showing his skills with watercraft and a passion for boats.
As a Victorian and an Australian, I want to add that our state and our nation share his family’s and the community’s deep sorrow at the tragic and untimely loss of a fine young soldier. Our support and our prayers go to his friends, his partner, Jacinta, and his family. Lest we forget.