DCO Hunter hosted festivities at the Fort Scratchley in Newcastle. Families toured the historic tunnels and weaponry, while clowns entertained the kids by performing magic tricks, making balloon animals and painting faces. A hands-on reptile show included a three-metre diamond python. Families used the discussion wall to share stories about managing the challenges of being in a Defence family and many have now registered to participate in our local Family Forums.
DCO Melbourne, Frankston and Puckapunyal
DCO Melbourne, Frankston and Puckapunyal celebrated at the Melbourne Zoo. Families travelled all the way from Ballarat, Geelong, Mornington Peninsula, Puckapunyal and metropolitan Melbourne to attend. The weather was perfect and families had a great time meeting each other and viewing the newborn elephant, Mali, and the new tiger cubs, making for a busy, tiring and thoroughly enjoyable day.
DCO Nowra held activities at the Nowra Wildlife Park on the banks of the Shoalhaven River amid perfect autumn weather. Families were able to touch koalas, snakes and lizards and enjoyed a sausage sizzle hosted by the local Defence spouse group Shoalhaven Defence Families Association. Showbags and balloons for the kids and gym passes and a lucky door prize for the adults ensured a good time was had by all. A big thanks to Corrine and Nick from the Nowra Wildlife Park and their staff who helped make the day special.
DCO Rockingham and Pearce
Western Australian Defence families celebrated at Scitech, an interactive science centre in Perth which has educational exhibitions, programs and services designed for people of all ages. With a variety of activities, including competitions, a lucky door prize, and catering for the kids with pizzas and cold drinks, the event was an excellent opportunity for families to get to know each other and link in with their local community. A special thank you goes to partners Chief Petty Officer Adrian (AJ) Nourse, Sue Lanham and Terri Lawler who volunteered their services to assist with the event. By all accounts the day was a resounding success.
DCO Sydney, Richmond and Liverpool
Defence families from the Sydney region converged on Taronga Park Zoo for their celebration. In addition to a fun time at the zoo they were also able to talk with DCO staff and receive increased awareness of the support systems and services available for families.
The day also gave families a golden opportunity to network with people of other Services who are in similar situations, perhaps with a partner deployed overseas, and who reside in the same geographical area of Sydney. In the meantime, Defence kids enjoyed coming face to face with a range of exotic animals from around the globe.
The ADF families present included the wives and children of sailors soldiers and air force personnel serving on overseas deployments.
Commander Australian Air Lift Group, Air Commodore John Oddie, said the National Families Week celebration is an important annual event where ADF families can meet and relax in a comfortable atmosphere.
‘It provides the opportunity to form relationships and social networks, and gives families the opportunity to seek information regarding the support options that are available to them.’
Defence family members from Sale celebrated with a scenic boat cruise on the Gipplsand Lakes. The day was warm and sunny, and a performance by a playful seal riding the waves at the lakes entrance delighted kids and adults alike. Families also enjoyed a light barbeque lunch near the shores of picturesque Metung village.
DCO Tindal celebrated National Families Week with a Sunset Concert and over 300 members and their families came along to the Sergeant’s Mess to enjoy the fun filled afternoon.
The entertainment included jumping castles, sumo wrestling, The Gladiator, merry–go–round, face painting, fairy floss, doughnuts, Tindal Train, a free sausage sizzle and all were entertained by the RAAF band who played into the evening. Local community groups also came along to showcase their services.
A big thanks goes out to Command and the many volunteers who helped the make the day perfect.
DCO Canberra’s function was held at Questacon, the hands-on national science and technology centre situated on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Over five hundred Defence family members came along to socialise and play with the interactive exhibits. A big hit was Mini Q, an exhibition for kids aged six and under, where playtime is blended with science, learning and plenty of water!
DCO Townsville held a fun family night at Geckos Family Centre at Lavarack Barracks. A jumping castle, petting zoo, balloon artist and face painter appealed to the younger children, while older kids—and some adults!—tried their luck with the mechanical bull and sumo wrestling. B4Kids supported the evening with craft activities for the children and local entertainer, Alex Salvador, facilitated a drum circle, capturing the hearts of many. The relaxed and social evening was a resounding success, bringing families together and strengthening their sense of community.
Tourists—but no passport or visa required
Posted to a new location? Bored and don’t know anyone?
Whether your new location has a fast tempo like Sydney or Melbourne, or has a slow, mellow old-school vibe like Adelaide, have you ever thought of being a tourist? Yes, that’s right: a tourist. My partner and I are tourists in our home location and here is our story.
Coming from a Defence family it’s hard to initiate and sustain a relationship with people outside the Defence network. Being away from friends and family can be daunting when in a new locality and new surroundings. You soon begin to fall into a routine of work and home life which can become boring and somewhat stressful.
Routine life was making me uninspired, sluggish and lazy. Then one day it dawned on me: I’m in Sydney, Australia. There is no place like Sydney and I’m sitting here on my couch with a bowl of chips watching a dated Saturday movie.
That thought made me realise I was wasting this opportunity to do some really awesome activities. It got me thinking of the movie The Bucket List. Two men who have nothing in common except for their terminal illnesses decide to list all the things they ever dreamed of doing before they die. The movie inspired me to create a ‘life list’ and start living my dreams now.
My partner and I decided we would take it in turns to organise surprise sightseeing trips. Doing something unexpected has a different adrenalin rush and requires the utmost trust.
In January this year I started the ball rolling. We live 60km from Sydney and rarely venture into the rat race. I thought, why not visit the highest tourist attraction in Sydney? The Sydney Sky Walk was our doom or gloom—until this day I was unaware that my partner had issues with heights. However, he zipped up his protective sky-suit and stepped out. Venturing across the glass floor viewing platforms was nerve-wracking and surreal—looking out over the spectacular views of Sydney and beyond was like a fairy tale.
These moments are what you live for.
Since then we have had a number of tourist excursions. We ventured to the outer suburbs of Sydney where we bushwalked through the Blue Mountains and visited the Three Sisters. We investigated the Jenolan caves, became wildlife explorers at Taronga Zoo, watched the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and took a trip to the National Maritime Museum.
Our list grows everyday. We plan to stretch our comfort zones as well as enjoy the simple hobbies in life. Later in the year we are going to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb and skydive, and experience the calmer activities of go-kart racing and cable skiing.
As we embrace being tourists a number of things changed in our day-to-day routine. Work-wise we were more motivated and willing to do new things. Our relationship has become closer, stronger, and more trusting. We learned from each other and became stronger individuals.
An active body has an active mind, so head on down to your local Information Centre and see what’s waiting for you where you live.
Review of Emergency Support for Families scheme
The Emergency Support for Families Scheme (ESFS)—established in 2006—is a short-term measure to assist a family through an emergency period where a member is absent from home. ESFS assistance can be applied for by the member’s family through their local DCO office.
DCO is reviewing the scheme to find what works and what doesn’t. As part of this broader review DCO have developed an online survey to determine family satisfaction with the current scheme, and seek suggestions on what services should be included as well as ideas for improvements.
You do not have to have received services under ESFS to participate in the survey.
Who should complete the survey?
• Spouses and ADF recognised interdependent partners of permanent full-time ADF members including dual ADF couples; and
• Permanent ADF members who are single parents (either full or shared residency)
Have your say through the DCO website
The survey will be available online and is open from Monday, 12 July 2010 to Friday, 13 August 2010 on the DCO website
Hard copies of the survey can be requested from:
Contact: Ms Paula Sear
Phone: 02 6127 2313
2010 National Calendar of Events
The International Year of Biodiversity
With our focus on helping Defence families engage with their community, and with knowing how much Defence families contribute to charity and other events, DCO is proud to introduce a national calendar of events, complete with what’s on and weblinks to where to find out more.