Book review by Gay Liddington
Wings of Change - The inside story of Australia’s first female Green Beret Commando and her fight for change by Robyn Fellowes is a story of overcoming adversity and driving positive change.
Feeling disconnected, overworked, and living with chronic pain, a life-changing epiphany intervened as this troubled soul turned her car towards the Death Tree. She had left the army after 22 years of service and this was yet another of the sliding door moments which was to shape the future of this courageous woman.
The story is seeded in a traumatic childhood perpetrated by a violent father, but the child’s roots grew strong as she excelled at athletics—successfully competing at a National level. Inspired by her mother and a desire to make the world a better place, Fellowes set out on the road to change.
In 1986, at 17, Robyn Fellowes joined the military, and one year on, a new calling beckoned when she attended a presentation on Guerrilla Warfare and asked if any women were in these Special Operations’ teams. The answer was, ‘No, of course not!’
The author paints a picture of gender bias in the military leadership, which only toughened her resolve to revolutionise. An opportunity to take part in a Commando Selection course catapulted Fellowes to become Australia’s first female commando.
Robyn Fellowes retired from full-time army service at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, continuing to serve as an Army reservist.
During her time in the military, Fellowes became an agent-of-change in Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan, and later Fiji. In 2017, she travelled to South Sudan as a trained Military Gender Advisor striving to improve the lives of women and children.
Wings of Change narrates the author’s unrelenting drive to make a positive difference. It lured me, on the hero’s journey, one of strength, courage, and tenacity. A compelling story told with great insight and skill.