Former Commando Damien Thomlinson tells students – do it your way!

The School Leader’s Breakfast 2019 was a flying success with over 200 students attending.

The School Leader’s Breakfast 2019 was a flying success with over 200 students attending.

Guest speaker Damien Thomlinson spoke about his inspiring journey of overcoming adversity after the military where he was a Commando in the Australian Special Forces. He was seriously injured after an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated, which resulted in him losing both his legs.

Damien is a successful speaker, actor, athlete and best-selling author. He starred in Hacksaw Ridge in 2016, directed by Mel Gibson. The film was nominated for Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards. Thomlinson was also a member of the Australian team for the 2014 and 2016 Invictus Games. Damien authored Without Warning: A Soldiers Extraordinary Journey, in 2013, detailing the life changing incident. 

Damien’s message was do it your way. When you come up against a problem, road block or someone who doesn’t believe in you, come up with a solution and do it your way. 

He told young people to stop worrying about others opinions. Before he lost his legs he worried about what others thought, sometimes this would change his decisions, like not doing drama at school worrying about what others would think. Damien looks at life differently now and told students to be themselves. 

Students were amazed at his strength and courage and had many questions on his extraordinary life. 

Cessnock City Mayor, Councillor Bob Pynsent said he was a true inspiration to our young leaders. 

“Damien is a remarkable man who is an exceptional role model for our younger generation and showcases that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.” 

Cessnock City Council would like to thank Damien for his time and for sharing his story with all who attended. 

This event was a part of our Local Government Week 2019 celebrations. For more information and events coming up visit