Family before alone time

22 May 2024

When Sapper Chace Leitch found out his partner was pregnant with their first child, he was setting off into a remote area of New Zealand’s south island. 

The 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment soldier was about to be a contestant on the second season of Alone Australia.

SBS’s hit reality program takes 10 survivalists and drops them into the wilderness with only a few items to build shelter, hunt, fish and forage.  

Contestants have no contact with each other or the outside world and must keep a video journal of their experiences. 

They have a satellite phone for emergencies or if they want to 'tap out' and leave the show. 

As Sapper Leitch flew across the Tasman Sea, he challenged himself to stick it out for 10 days before considering coming home. 

If he could endure the conditions for long enough, he might have a shot at the money for his growing family. 

“I thought I was doing the right thing; that I could win the show and get some money behind us,” Sapper Leitch said. 

“[My partner] was in the worst condition I've ever seen her – hadn't even hit the 12-week mark and was still in the danger period – and I’d just left to go gallivanting about in another country. 

“I was out there, no contact at all.

“I had plenty left in the tank but as soon as I decided to leave and I got to call home, I knew it was the right thing to do.” 

The Brisbane soldier was a natural fit for a show such as Alone Australia, after growing up in the Whitsundays hunting, fishing and exploring. 

Hunting deer with his father are some of his earliest memories, but his formative years were not without difficulty.

“I was homeless for a little while before enlisting,” Sapper Leitch said. 

“Army gave my life structure and purpose – it was the best thing I ever did.” 

Sapper Leitch left the show in episode four. His platoon mates followed his adventure every step of the way. 

It’s fair to say he’s become a bit of a celebrity among them. 

“There are pictures of my face on the walls; the group chat goes crazy. It’s all good though, it’s funny as,” he said.   

Alone Australia season two is available on SBS from 7.30pm Wednesdays. 



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