Tattoo a high note for infantryman

Warrant Officer Class 2 Matthew Rhodes, Leading Seaman Jonathan Rendell and Leading Aircraftwoman Samantha Morley with fellow performers to promote the forthcoming Royal Edinburgh. Photo: Able Seaman Benjamin Ricketts

Tattoo a high note for infantryman

Growing up in Smithton, Tasmania, Australian Army Warrant Officer Class 2 Matthew Rhodes always wanted to travel and give back to the community.

“Joining the ADF [Australian Defence Force] seemed a good way to combine the two,” he said.

An Army infantryman, he is currently the Guard Sergeant Major with Australia’s Federation Guard (AFG) – a tri-service ceremonial unit made up of members from the Royal Australian Navy, the Army and the Royal Australian Air Force.

In his role with the Federation Guard, Warrant Officer Rhodes spends long hours practising to take part in the largest ever Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, taking place in Sydney from October 17-19.

This puts him in a cast of 1500 people from 13 countries performing in the traditional Scottish event at Stadium Australia, Sydney Olympic Park.

This is only the fourth time the Tattoo has been held in Australia.

Set against a full-sized 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 South Pacific nations.

Warrant Officer Rhodes is looking forward to the Tattoo experience and meeting performers from 13 other nations.

“It will be amazing to be part of such a world renowned event,” he said.

“The Edinburgh Tattoo is such a prestigious parade, especially for service personnel.”

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 coordination for participating nations.

Tickets are available online through Ticketek. Visit

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