A message from Linda Hurley Patron of the Defence Community 3
Message from Minister Snowdon 4
Message from David Hurley Chief of the Defence Force 4
Defence Families of Australia news 5
Christmas care packages from the RSL 8
Long Tan to Afghanistan—helping families understand the deployment cycle 9
Making contact with DCO 10
Community house and group news 11
Reconnect with friends through DAN 18
Calling Defence families without kids 18
Special needs group turns 18! 20
Celebrate Defence Bubs‘n’Pets 21
Meet through your street Bring families together through a street party 21
Resilience is just a SMART move away 23
With school stories to tell from twenty twelve 24
Study shows critical importance of social support to increase resilience 27
Resilience on display at the Australian War Memorial 28
Spotlight on the Soldier Recovery Centre in Brisbane 31
DVA adds more online services 33
Mind the gap Private health insurance tips and tricks 33
Cost of healthcare getting you down? 34
Judaism and the Australian Defence Force 35
Bought a dud product? Don’t forget your consumer rights 39
The Defence Family Pin 40
Defence Transition Seminar Calendar 2013 41
Mud, Sweat and Tears 42
Gate Seven 43
Military Metamorphosis 46
Biography of General Sir John Monash 48
Book reviews, Spring Summer 2012 49
Welcome to the Spring Summer 2012 edition of defence family matters.
Defence families are resilient—they meet the challenges of Defence life like deployment and relocation with confidence. However, in times of need the Defence Community Organisation is there to help. We help by providing a range of products and services to help families manage deployment and relocation, we help by increasing the capacity of the civilian community to look after Defence families, and we help by providing families with training to increase their resilience and their skills to manage challenges.
Our resilience training workshops are known as our ‘SMART’ suite of programs—they are available to partners, teens and kids and are delivered by our regional teams throughout the year. The workshops provide practical tips, techniques and resources to help manage stressful situations, particularly those brought on by deployment and relocation. See page 21 for more details and contact information.
In this edition we also celebrate stories of resilience—our school tales, starting on page 22, from Defence in-school Aides and Mentors are a great example—and we provide links to support groups and places where Defence families can engage with their local community.
Finally, all of us in DCO wish you the very best for the New Year and we invite you to attend one of our welcome events in early 2013. These events are a great way to get to know your local area and find out more about the services and supports available to you—visit www.defence.gov.au/dco and click on the ‘Events’ section to find out more.
Want contact from DCO? Register with the Defence Family Helpline today!
You can register with the Defence Family Helpline to receive information from your local DCO Area Office including details about local events like welcome days and SMART training, information about DCO’s range of support programs, deployment and relocation resources, and information about your local community.
Advertising in dfm: dfm does not take paid advertising, though we do provide space for not-for-profit organisations that directly provide for ADF members and their families. If you’re looking to advertise your products or services direct to Defence families then you can’t go past the Service newspapers for reaching that demographic. Please call the Advertising Manager for more information.
I have a wooden sign in my kitchen given to me by some ladies from Puckapunyal. It says “Army Wives Can Do Anything!” (The same, of course, applies to Navy and Air Force wives.) I often receive comments like “What a great sign!” and “That’s so true!”
Is it true because we are naturally resilient or is it true because we don’t have a choice? Do we simply learn to live wholehearted lives in circumstances that are often beyond our control?
While we tend to think of resilience as something we build within ourselves, I think that Defence families can help each other build resilience by providing support and advice based on our own experiences.
Many years ago, before children, when my husband would go on exercise I used to think, “If only he could hide his excitement just a little bit”. I knew he loved me, but when he went off so happily and without question, I did feel a bit left out.
I had a choice: I could wallow in loneliness or I could get on and have a life.
My friendships and my faith in God kept me going. While David lived an infantry soldiers’ life, I studied, held six different jobs, learnt cake decoration and horse riding, taught Sunday School, was a Cub leader, and even parachuted with the British Army—something David has never done!
Each of our children was born in a different state, and while David was often away on exercise our children changed schools as we moved from state to state and country to country. During this time I had support from wonderful friends and family, and I also pursued activities involving people both inside and outside Defence.
When my father died in Sydney we were living in Brisbane. David was on an exercise with the US military on a ship out at sea, and he could not come home.
My civilian and Defence friends and neighbours supported me and minded our three children so I could attend my father’s funeral. My nephew, who was serving in Townsville, travelled with me—he was my stand-in husband for the day. In retrospect, one day with family was not enough but I had three young children who needed me back in Brisbane.
While we didn’t have grandparents around the corner, other friends became special “old people” in our children’s lives. Our babysitter in Townsville was one of those people—she loved our children and often brought them a special home-made treat to eat. Another very old lady in our church brought lollies every Sunday and the organist there encouraged our son to sing in the service.
I continue to be supported by family and friends while David is in his present position. He doesn’t go on exercise or deployments but he spends a lot of time away and when he is home his mind is often somewhere else.
It has been the friendship, kindness, and loving care from so many people during my family’s Defence journey that have made it such a rich and special life. It is the only way of life that we have known.
Defence families are resilient—we’re resilient because we have to be, and we’re resilient because it’s a gift we share with each other.
Linda Hurley is the Patron for the Defence community. Linda is married to the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, and has been a Defence family member for over 30 years.