John Naidu
Humans of Woodlea

John Naidu

The young veteran who volunteers his time to help fellow veterans in his community


When John Naidu finished high school, his goal was to join the Australian Defence Force and serve his country. After 15 years of service, including seven tours to Afghanistan, Pakistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands, John discharged from the Australian Defence Force and now volunteers his time supporting local veterans within his community.


After moving his way up the ranks from a Private Soldier to a Platoon Sergeant and Instructor in New South Wales, John discharged in Melbourne and settled in Woodlea Estate with his family.


Shortly after moving to the estate, John became a member of the local RSL in Caroline Springs to provide support for both current and former Australian Defence Force members and their dependents. 


With a majority of the veterans in the area from the Vietnam War, Caroline Springs RSL was lacking support from younger veterans; John was invited to become Vice President for his ability to provide relatable support for the younger Veterans with similar experience to his own.  


Alongside other RSL members, John takes the time to regularly visit veterans in the area to provide social support to those who are his age, as well as the older generations in retirement homes.

“Veterans can isolate themselves from the community for reasons relating to poor mental health, so we make the effort to visit, take them out for coffee and offer a social outlet.”


“Public transport and busy public places in general can often be overwhelming to veterans with anxiety or who have a fear of crowds. We find that if we take them along to different places, we can help them grow more confident.”


Initially drawn to Woodlea by the infrastructure and impressive parks, John was compelled to join the community and was confident he made the right decision once he was approached by the community to assist in the development of the Aintree Walk of Honour – a memorial constructed by Woodlea to commemorate Australian troops.


The walk, which opened in 2017 with John’s assistance, is a community initiative to link wise old minds with younger perspectives, and to create a lasting reflective legacy that speaks the language of young people.


The 500m walk features educational plaques that commemorate significant military conflicts involving Australian troops such as the Boer War, WWI, WWII, peacekeeping missions and the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and Afghanistan wars.


As one of the few individuals in the area who has been involved, John was offered the opportunity to help develop the Afghanistan and Iraq section of the walk.

“Newer communities or estates tend to not have the same emphasis on War memorials when compared to more established estates or small towns, but Woodlea is different, it has a strong focus – it was nice to be involved in the process.”


John was the Vice President of the Caroline Springs RSL for 12 months, but resigned earlier this year to spend more time with his family. He still remains involved in RSL initiatives and helping other community members.


John’s story is part of Humans of Woodlea, an initiative by the fully integrated master planned community to highlight the unique stories of its residents, whilst showing its diversity and spirit.