Dovetails for Diggers

Comments Comments


My name is Ash Wilke. I am a former Australian Army UAV operator within 20th STA Regiment and completed a deployment to Afghanistan. I have since unfortunately been medically discharged from the army due to PTSD.

Since my discharge, I have found that the best thing I have been able to do for my self therapy is woodworking. I have completed fine furniture study with two of Australia’s best studio woodworkers – Damion Fauser (ex RAAF) and Roy Schack of The Brisbane School of Fine Woodwork.

I am now living in Ulladulla, NSW and attend the local men’s shed to be able to access the required tools and space to continue practicing the craft. Recently I made a hand-cut dovetailed box to put my medals in as I have only ever kept them in a drawer.

Upon completing my box I received lots of interest from other veterans who keep their own medals in the same sort of situation as I did. I have taught some local veterans who attend the men’s shed, how to make boxes for themselves, which they found immensely enjoyable and was a huge self esteem boost as they had a tangible outcome to take home, show their family, and mount their medals inside.

They now continue to try their hands at fine furniture making, due to the mindfulness, catharsis and comradery that is achievable as a direct by-product. I would now like to offer this opportunity to the veteran community as a whole, but I am unable on my meagre DVA medical pension to fund this on my own, which is where you come in.

In the recent times there has been much in the media about the high suicide rates amongst veterans but with no offers of help or tangible outcomes. This is our opportunity to give back to these veterans whom have given so much to let us lead a normal life.
Whether they believe in the political reasons behind sending them there or even if they disagree, they still serve our beautiful country proudly. This is where we, no matter our feelings behind the politics, must stand behind these men and women.

I have compiled an initial list of tools and machinery that is necessary to achieve this goal, which is substantial to say the least. I have estimated it could take from $15,000 to $20,000 as an initial outlay for these items, to pay for a workshop and for trades to install electrical, dust extraction and plumbing etc to be installed in a workshop.

So far I received pledges from some to help out with donations and discounted supply of items to Dovetails for Diggers. To be able to get this project going I need donations of money, tools and more.

With your help my aim is to supply this service to our veterans to aid in their recovery for little to no cost to them. I also do not wish to be paid to do this as I feel that it would be my privilege to deliver the course to veterans to aid in their recovery and general well being.

I hope to hear from you! You can email me at or give me a call on 0428496831

Ashley Wilke, former LBDR PMKeys 8565437


comments powered by Disqus