By Margaret Maccoll
When Squadron Commodore John Milland makes a commitment, he sticks to it.
John began a career in the early beginnings of computing in 1958 as an engineer with Burroughs before he moved to ICL.
He saw firsthand the enormous changes that occurred over the years in computing, and graduated through the ranks ending up in senior roles in both companies, at one point in charge of operations across South East Asia.
Outside work he spent 14 years as a member of the Army Reserve rising to the rank of officer and has “been a Justice of the Peace for 45 years.
Having retired in 2000, John moved to Noosa from Brisbane and was looking for a new challenge when he decided on the Coast Guard.
Having had nothing to do with boats before, John began with radio operations, then threw himself into training, learning all aspects of boating and safety.
“It really impressed me the amount of dedication and time the guys put in,” he said.
“It takes a lot of dedication, time and the support from their families to do it, and I’ve met some pretty good people.
Over his 17 years with the Noosa Coast Guard, he has seen his fair share of rescues, retrievals and bad weather.
One incident that stays with him was a rescue of 29 school children who had been on a day trip and became stranded by flood waters at Harry’s Hut at Como. The Coast Guard headed up the flooded river in two boats.
“There was a really bad storm that came over. Kin Kin was flooded. We had only one chance to get them out,” he said.
“Police said just overload your boat and get all of the kids out. We got all the kids out safely.”
“That’s when you know you’ve done a good job.”
In June, John took on the role of Squadron Commodore in charge of five flotillas including Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Noosa, Tin Can Bay and Sandy Straits. Each region has a commander who are members of a board.
John said each area had its own issues, but across the group training, safety and fund-raising were challenges.
Noosa Coast Guard costs are about $200,000 a year, and the government contributes about $30,000.
The rest comes from grants, sponsors, raffles and donations.