DRA deployed in response to the severe weather events across the State of Victoria in June 2021. The target area for the rolling operation was the Dandenong Ranges, 50km from Melbourne’s CBD.
The Melbourne Disaster Relief Team (DRT) collaborated with Rotary – Emerald & District and their Dandenong Ranges task force called “Help the Hills” to assist recovery efforts to help affected veterans and their communities.
Riverland Flood Recovery Operation
Area of Operations
Dandenong Ranges, Victoria
Recovery Taskings for Operation Joynt
As part of Operation Joynt, DRA provided the following capabilities:
- Clearing of felled trees
- Clearance of debris and material
- Clearing near fences or buildings or near access routes
- General clearance tasks on affected properties
The story behind the name
As part of its respect to military veterans, DRA names its relief operations after a local veteran in honour of their service to the community, and in turn ours. Operation Joynt is named for Melbourne born William Donovan Joynt.
Joynt enlisted in 1915 and arrived in France 1916. Shot during a raid on the German trenches, he was evacuated to England and promoted to lieutenant. He rejoined his battalion and served on the Western Front until August 1918.
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the attack on Herleville Wood, near Chuignes, Peronne, on 23rd August, 1918. His company commander, having been killed early in the advance, he immediately took charge of the company, which he led with courage and skill. On approaching Herleville Wood, the troops of the leading battalion which his battalion was supporting, suffered very heavy casualties and were much shaken.
Lieutenant Joynt, grasping the situation, rushed forward under very heavy machine gun and artillery fire, collected and reorganized the remnant of the battalion, and kept them under cover pending the arrival of his own company. He then made a personal reconnaissance and found that the fire from the wood was checking the whole advance and causing heavy casualties to troops on his flanks. Dashing out in font of his men, he inspired and led a magnificent frontal bayonet attack on the wood. The enemy were staggered by this sudden onslaught, and a very critical situation was saved.
Later at Plateau Wood, this very gallant officer again, with a small party of volunteers, rendered invaluable service, and after severe hand to hand fighting turned a stubborn defence into an abject surrender. His valour and determination was conspicuous throughout, and he continued to do magnificent work until badly wounded by a shall.’
Source: ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 36
Date: 14 March 1919
Joynt went on to become a soldier settler, dairy farming near Berwick. He became a pioneer of colour printing in Melbourne. Though his business failed during the depression he remained a printer and publisher for over 60 years. He married Edith Amy Garrett a nurse in 1932 on his 43rd birthday.
As an inaugural member of Melbourne Legacy, he helped to campaign for Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance to be built in its present form on its present site. Joynt wrote three autobiographical books: To Russia and Back Through Communist Countries (1971), Saving the Channel Ports, 1918 (1975) and Breaking the Road for the Rest (1979).
Promoted to major in February 1930 and mobilised on 26 September 1939, he commanded the 3rd Garrison Battalion at Queenscliff and then, from March 1941, Puckapunyal camp. From June 1942 he was camp staff officer then quartermaster at Seymour camp. He was placed on the Retired List as an honorary lieutenant colonel on 10 October 1944.
The last surviving of Australia’s World War I VC winners, he died on 5 May 1986 at Windsor and was buried with full military honours in Brighton cemetery.
Work orders completed
Saved by the community
Victorian Severe Weather Recovery 2021
DRA’s Flood Recovery Operation in the Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges region.