Support for families on the move

Published on CMDR Chloe Griggs (author), CPL David Cotton (photographer)

Topic(s): Defence Community Organisation

Sub Lieutenant James Tew with his wife Christine and daughter on completion of his ADFA graduation. (photo: Unknown)
Sub Lieutenant James Tew with his wife Christine and daughter on completion of his ADFA graduation.

The end of the year is a busy time for a variety of reasons but for lots of Defence families, it means a change of scenery as personnel post across the state, continent, or the globe.

For Sub Lieutenant James Tew it year marks the end of three years of study at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, award of a Bachelor of Science and a return to the Fleet for the sailor changeover.

Sub Lieutenant Tew was a Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator who applied to commission as a Maritime Warfare Officer, and now after officer and academic training, his family circumstances have created complexity for the impending Canberra-Sydney move.

A degree is not all he has added, with a fifth child born just prior to Christmas, the family are patently aware that when they need assistance, there is plenty on hand.

“Moving is already pretty stressful but add in four kids and one newborn and it immediately increases the amount of strain on the family,” he said.

“Changing schools can also be challenging for the kids but Defence Community Organisation has helped a lot with the transition,” he said.

Defence Community Organisation offers a range of support mechanisms for Defence personnel including tutoring for children at new schools, a Partner Education and Employment program and programs to help families with special needs.

In addition to a number of initiatives already on offer to Navy families, Defence Community Organisation provides SMART programs to help families develop their resilience to manage the military way of life.

SMART programs include support for families, teens and kids. During a SMART session participants will also be given information and resources to connect them with valuable local community resources

Sub Lieutenant Tew said one thing that often helped his family with moves were the various community events run by Defence Community Organisation.

“Wherever you post to, there are a lot of different events hosted by Defence Community Organisation like an end of year Christmas event or playgroups,” he said.

“You can meet people in similar circumstances, build knowledge about the local area to help the transition and create a network for the whole family.”

Home of Maritime Warfare training, HMAS Watson on Sydney Harbour’s South Head will provide plenty of scope for professional advancement for Sub Lieutenant Tew, but, hopefully the spectacular views won’t be too distracting.

Defence personnel can find out more about the services provided by Defence Community Organisation at