The Royal Australian Navy’s Community Engagement Program in the Northern Territory achieved a number of key milestones throughout 2016, aimed at bringing Navy people out into the community.
In looking back at 2016, the Navy Community Engagement Program Coordinator for the Northern Territory, Chief Petty Officer Tony Thomas, said he was proud of the program’s achievements, and already looking forward to building on those in 2017.
“Navy has an active and visible presence in Darwin. HMAS Coonawarra is the home port for our Patrol Boat fleet and directly supports those boats so they can undertake maritime security operations in support of border protection,” Chief Petty Officer Thomas said.
“But the Northern Territory is a lot bigger than Darwin alone. Our job has been to take Navy to the people throughout the vast territory, including to those living hundreds or even thousands of kilometres from the ocean.
“During 2016 we visited Alice Springs to participate in the Henley on Todd Regatta, and while we were there we also participated in commemorative services for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, a key battle of the Vietnam War.
“There, the Navy team won one of the Regatta’s blue ribbon events - the tug-o-war - defeating all rivals on the sands of the Todd River."
Other key activities for the year included visits to Arnhem Land, Nhulunbuy and the first ever visit by the program to the remote Timber Creek.
In early September, the Program’s key focus returned to Darwin for Navy Week, which served to bring the Navy out into the Top End community, with visits by the famed Royal Australian Navy Band to various schools in Darwin and Palmerston, and several presentations of Navy’s Ceremonial Sunset supported by Navy Band performances around the two cities, including on the beach at the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.
Coonawarra’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Phillipa Hay, recognises the importance of bringing Navy out into the community.
“Most of what Navy does occurs at sea, over the horizon and out of sight of the Australian people.
“The Navy Community Engagement Program brings our people out into the community - their community - where they can engage and interact with their fellow Australians,” Lieutenant Commander Hay said.
“We live in this community, many of our partners work in the community, and our children go to school in it, so ‘community engagement’ is an important way for our family, friends and others to see us in uniform representing the values of the Navy.
“Chief Petty Officer Thomas, and his colleagues around Australia, are a small and hard working group of people who work tirelessly to bring Navy to the people.”
To see a video of Navy Week visit - http://video.navy.gov.au/play/4865.