Sarbi Park

Sarbi Park is located in the heart of Warner Lakes The Reserve and includes a children’s playground, open air fitness equipment, barbeque facilities and community dog park.       

The park is named after the former Australian Special Forces explosives detection dog, Sarbi.

Sarbi’s Story
Sarbi, a former Australian Special Forces explosives detection dog, spent almost 14 months missing in action (MIA) in Afghanistan. She disappeared during an ambush in 2008, and was later rediscovered by an American soldier. Sarbi was reunited with Australian forces and repatriated back to Australia.

Sarbi, a black female Labrador cross Newfoundland trained in explosives detection, worked with the Incident Response Regiment during the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

She was promoted in 2007 and served in Afghanistan in “Operation Slipper”. Her role was to detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Oruzgan Province.

On 2 September 2008, during the Battle of Khaz Oruzgan, Sarbi reportedly disappeared in the “heat of the battle”. A Defence spokesperson reported that Sarbi vanished when a rocket exploded near her during the ambush. The ambush in which Sarbi went missing was the same in which SAS Trooper Mark Donaldson became the first Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross Medal since 1969.

After being declared missing in action, the Special Operations Task Group made repeated attempts to find her.

After being missing for 14 months, Sarbi was rediscovered by an American soldier in the north-eastern Oruzgan province, after he noticed a black dog accompanying a local man. The soldier was aware that Australian forces were missing a black dog, and determined through the use of voice commands that Sarbi was indeed a trained military dog. She was flown back to an Australian base in Tarin Kowt where handlers were able to provide official confirmation.

Generating world-wide attention, then Prime Minister The Hon. Kevin Rudd had the pleasure of meeting Sarbi while visiting the Australian base in Tarin Kowt. Prime Minister Rudd said, “Things like that, they may seem quite small, but in fact the symbolism is quite strong, and the symbolism of it is us out there doing a job...We haven't awarded any Australian Victoria Cross for 40 years. Trooper Donaldson stands out there as an Australian hero, and now his dog Sarbi is back home in one piece and a genuinely nice pooch as well”.

On 5 April 2011,Sarbi was awarded the RSPCA Purple Cross Award at the Australian War Memorial. This award recognises the deeds of animals that have shown outstanding service to humans, particularly if they showed exceptional courage in risking their own safety or life to save a person from injury or death.


Facilities at Sarbi Park. Sarbi tries on the iconic bush hat. Photo Lance Corporal (LCPL) Janine Fabre. ©Department of Defence.