Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 3, 2017 Contents 45
Issue 3 2017 Defence
programs for both Indigenous and non-
Indigenous Defence personnel to participate in
and NAIDOC Week is a great opportunity to
highlight these programs,” Steve said.
At the event, the Chief of Navy, Vice
Admiral Tim Barrett, paid his respects to the
Indigenous men and women who have served.
“Defence is extremely proud of our
Indigenous members. The contribution of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and
women enhances Defence’s capability through
their skills, approaches and flexibility, which are
vital to execute our mission,” Tim said.
“Our Indigenous members have played
significant roles in the ADF for more than a
century, but Indigenous Australians are still
under-represented in Defence.
“Through the Defence Reconciliation Action
Plan, we are committed to closing the gap in
Indigenous disadvantage and increasing our
Indigenous workforce so we represent the
community we serve and protect.”
Elders from Indigenous communities around
Cairns welcomed the participants to Country.
During the event, the audience was entertained
by performances from Navy’s Bungaree Dance
Troupe and the Sarpeye Dancers, a dance group
of Torres Strait Islanders who also serve with
the 51st Far North Queensland Regiment.
Multiple events were also held in Canberra to
mark NAIDOC Week.
Teneille Watkins, an Administration Officer
with the Defence Senior Secretariat, and Mary
Lynch, an Executive Assistant in the Chief
Finance Officer Group, attended the main
ceremony in the Ngunnawal Theatrette at
Local Ngunnawal elder Uncle Warren Daley
delivered the Welcome to Country, followed by
the guest speaker, the Acting Secretary Brendan
Sargeant, who said that 2 per cent of APS
employees had proudly identified as Indigenous.
“Defence aims to increase the Indigenous
workforce target to 2.7 per cent by 2018,”
“While more needs to be done, the APS
sector is now one of the most inclusive
employers in Australia and it should and can
take a leading role in giving Indigenous people
opportunities for employment and development.
“This is not just so they can have a career in
the public sector, but also to take those skills
and experiences into the broader community.”
Teneille moved from Townsville to Canberra
to pursue her career in Defence. Being part of
the Badjtala tribe in Queensland, as well as a
Torres Strait and South Sea Islander, Teneille
is happy that her workplace actively recognises
the contribution of her people.
“Being so far away from home, Defence
provides support by celebrating and promoting
Indigenous culture through NAIDOC Week,”
“I see NAIDOC Week as a coming together,
a time of celebration for all Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islanders, to share our culture
and proudly become one with our fellow non-
Mary, who has Aboriginal and Chinese
heritage, was impressed by the wide range of
activities held throughout the week.
Defence Learning Branch hosted a NAIDOC
week event at the Learning Centre in Fyshwick
in Canberra to celebrate the contribution and
achievement of past and present Defence
Two training rooms in the centre were
renamed to honour Indigenous members who
served in the ADF. One room was dedicated to
Lance Sergeant William Charles Westbury, who
served in the Boer War and World War I, and the
other dedicated to Private William Allan Irwin,
who served in World War I.
At the event, people were asked to paint
ochre on their face as they passed through the
door and Richie Allan, a descendant of Private
Irwin, performed a smoking ceremony during
which local didgeridoo player Chaydin Reid
Local Indigenous artists displayed their work
and Defence purchased four paintings from
artist Duncan Smith, who works in traditional
ochre paint and colours. His paintings represent
the traditional scar trees that mark boundary
lines and important places. Learning and
Development Officer Michael Bean also
displayed several artworks included a three-
dimensional painting (see story on next page).
The Deputy Secretary of Defence People
Group, Roxanne Kelley, said it was a privilege
to be involved.
“The relaxed welcoming atmosphere enabled
great conversations and reflection on the
importance of NAIDOC week,” Roxanne said.
At the Australian War Memorial, a Last
Post Ceremony was held to commemorate the
service and sacrifice of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people.
The Deputy Director Diversity and Inclusion
for Air Force, Wing Commander Cheryl Neal,
conducted the reading which detailed the life
and career of Indigenous serviceman Flight
Sergeant Arnold Lockyer. Arnold served in
No. 24 Squadron in World War II and was shot
down over Indonesia and died as a prisoner of
the Japanese. He was one of five brothers who
served in both world wars.
Cheryl is a descendant of the Durag mob
from the Sydney region and Yuin mob from the
south coast of New South Wales.
She was honoured to be asked to do the
reading and, despite practising beforehand, said
she struggled with her emotions, particularly
in relation to Arnold’s time and treatment as a
prisoner of war.
“I knew that many of his extended family in
South Australia were watching the live feed,”
“Flight Sergeant Lockyer joined the Air
Force and made the ultimate sacrifice for his
country at a time when it was neither necessary
nor desirable for Indigenous men to enlist.”
at the naming of
two training rooms
at the Defence
Learning Centre in
Photo: Jay Cronan
Photo: Sam Birch
Links Archive Issue 2, 2017 Issue 4 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page