Defence members welcomed to Darwin

Published on Simona Di Toro-Bell (author), LSIS James Whittle (photographer)

Aaron, 8, Noah, 6, mum Andrea and dad Timothy Fege, have a look at a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat used by the Royal Australian Navy with Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Bronson Lowe and Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Justin Burgess, at the Defence Community Organisation 'Welcome to the Top End' Exhibition, held at the convention centre, Darwin.  (photo: LSIS James Whittle)
Aaron, 8, Noah, 6, mum Andrea and dad Timothy Fege, have a look at a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat used by the Royal Australian Navy with Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Bronson Lowe and Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Justin Burgess, at the Defence Community Organisation 'Welcome to the Top End' Exhibition, held at the convention centre, Darwin.

Defence has continued to support families relocating around Australia, with Defence Community Organisation hosting a Welcome Expo in Darwin last week.

More than 3,000 people visited this year's Welcome Expo.

Defence members new to Darwin were warmly welcomed at the Expo, organised by Defence Community Organisation with support from the Strategic Defence Support Group Northern Territory, Tourism Top End, Chamber of Commerce and the Darwin Convention Centre.

With 185 stall holders, a program full of events which included dancers, whip cracking, gymnasts and cooking displays, Defence families were able to gain information on the education, recreation and support services, organisations and community groups available in the Darwin region. 

Welcome expos provide Defence families posted around Australia with opportunities to meet in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, make social networks, gain information about Defence and community-based services in the area and enjoy a day out with the family. 

Defence Community Organisation Community Development Officer, Mr David King, said the main aim of holding an expo was so that Defence members could connect with the community.

"It is all about showing our Defence families exactly what is out there for them and for our local community to also connect with the families," Mr King said.

"This year's Darwin event is double the size of last year's and as each year passes, it is always wonderful to see such great and welcoming support for our defence families."

Defence members make up six per cent of the Territory's population, comprising 6,000 defence personnel and about 400 cadets.

Area Manager of Defence Community Organisation, Mr Paul Gibbs, said it was a great opportunity for Defence families to get to know their local area.

"Being in the military can mean a lot of moving around and the Expo is a great way to welcome new families to the area and to help them get to know this very special part of the world," Mr Gibbs said.

Defence Community Organisation offers a range of programs and services to help Defence members and their families manager their mobile lifestyle and also works with families and local communities to build a strong, connected and resilient Defence community.