Warm weather faced families of Defence personnel as they enjoyed face painting, sausage sizzles, a jumping castle, inspecting aircraft and vehicles and much more at the Defence Community Organisation Expo.
About 1500 Defence personnel across the Air Force and Australian Army have been posted to Amberley earlier this year.
The annual DCO event welcomes these members and their families to Amberley to learn about the Ipswich area and connect to relevant support agencies.
Someone who is all too familiar with the difficulty of postings and being away from your family is new Mum and Logistics Officer, Flight Lieutenant Samantha Ashen.
While at Amberley for a few years now, she recently gave birth to son Joshua and has returned to work.
FLTLT Ashen said the support for new mothers in the Defence Force is outstanding.
“I think the consideration of not just you as a military member but you as a Defence family. You look at more of the support networks that are in place for the family that is left at home when you go away and do your job,” FLTLT Ashen said.
“As a new mum, with any mum returning to work it’s finding that balance between making sure that your giving enough time to your family but also still making sure you’re getting what you want to professionally from your career.
“I had six months off work, but I was very keen to return to work given that the [EA-18F] ‘Growler’ facilities are now coming to an end, and supporting the build of those.”
Her partner Peter Mayer said the support from the ADF and associated support groups made it easier for him to not only transition to a ‘stay at home dad’ role while Samantha returned to work, and to connect with the local community.
“My work it’s very shift orientated so they’ve afforded us a lot of time and flexibility with Sam’s working arrangements so that it fits in with my work,” he said.
“Air Force encourage supporting the local community in the same way that they support us… we certainly take part in Park Run so just getting out there and getting active with the community and meeting new people is always fun.”
Senior Australian Defence Force Officer RAAF Base Amberley, Air Commodore Veronica Tyler estended a warm welcome to new personnel and their families.
Recently posted to Amberley for a fourth time, AIRCDRE Tyler said that posting to a new base can be overwhelming for both personnel and their families yet events like the DCO expo help take away some of that stress.
“The opportunity for the families to see everything in one hit and be able to talk to the support agencies is fantastic,” AIRCDRE Tyler said.
“The kids get to see what Mum or Dad might do at work so it really is brilliant to get it all in on one day.”
AIRCDRE Tyler said the task of moving from one base to the other is much more laborious than just packing up your posessions.
“Every time we move, obviously you’re uprooting your family and shifting house which is quite stressful when you’re packing up your house into boxes but then you’ve got temporary accommodation, if you’ve got small children that can be quite challenging,” she said.
“On top of this, you’re moving to a new location where you don’t have the same support network.. friends that you made in the last location are not in your new one, spouse employment, schooling changes, kids not settling.. all of that on top of a new job is quite challenging.”
AIRCDRE Tyler encourages those who may be struggling to contact DCO on (07) 5361 1678.