Sunday 30 June 2019

Who Am I? Twenty facts about me!

Between different posts on our social media sites recently and conversations that I've had with my colleagues, people who know me have realised that I have done a lot in my life thus far. I've never been one to shout from the roof tops my achievements so when people find out more about me, they can be genuinely shocked. Just recently I've been on the receiving end of a lot of questions about things that I have done or have experienced, so I thought that it was about time to devote a post to just me. To answer questions that people have asked, so hold on tight.

1. I was raised on National Parks in the Northern Territory. My father was a Parks and Wildlife Ranger so we lived on Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park and then Berry Springs National Park. My father was then the head ranger in charge of an area that spanned from Fogg Dam, which is just outside of Darwin, to the edge of Kakadu National Park. This was a huge area so we spent a lot of time camping, exploring the bush, fishing and travelling around this area. While living at Nitimuk we spent some time with the Jawoyn people who are the traditional owners and custodians of the land, we had a pet Emu who thought she was human and would gate crash, literally, birthday parties at our ranger house. I lost count of the number of times that us ranger kids would take the ride from school back out to Nitmiluk on the back of the Ranger Utility so that Mrs Brolly, the resident Brolga, could sit in the cabin of the utility so that she wouldn't fly back into Katherine to terrorize the hospital or old folks home patients! We had wallabies as pets. While living at Berry Springs National Park, us ranger kids used to watch on as the rangers would pull BIG crocodiles from the traps that were put in below swimming spots. Watching the first crocodile be pulled out was enough to not want to go swimming in the springs! Ah good times!

2. I am petrified of big flying cockroaches to the point that I will freeze if I spot one. I always have been and probably always will be. My theory on why is because of the all times we used to go camping when I was a child and in the middle of the night, these horrid creatures would fly around and land on whatever they could find. Including sleeping people. Aaagh! They just creep me out! I also have a fear of llamas on account of being spat on by one many years ago. I like llamas but from a distance away.

3. Whilst at primary school, I began learning to play the Alto Saxophone. I initially wanted to play the clarinet but my music teacher convinced me that the Saxophone was a much better, and louder, instrument!! I'm also double jointed and my thumbs just didn't want to play the game when I first started learning to play a musical instrument! Playing a musical instrument was great for my confidence. It was great for my anxiety and social awkwardness as I could escape into my music. I was in the Darwin Youth Jazz Big Band which toured East Timor in Indonesia. As part of the Jazz Band, we got to jam with the great Australian trumpeter Jazz extraordinaire, James Morrison at one of the Darwin Jazz Festivals. I was also in the Combined Schools Concert Band - we played at many combined school concerts and performances and in the 1992 Pacific School Games Opening Ceremony. Through playing the Saxophone, I taught myself how to play the piano and the drums. 

4. I was in the Girl Guides movement as a Lone Ranger Brownie - think distance education - as we lived too far from a Brownie Troupe. I then moved up into the Girl Guides. As a Guide I achieved my BP award which is the highest level badge that a Girl Guide can achieve. But secretly, I always wanted to be in the Cubs or Scouts as they had more fun. But alas, this was before girls were accepted into the Scouts. Once I had become too old to be in the Girl Guides, I became a Cub Scout Instructor.

5. In year 8 I was accepted into the Junior Police Rangers Program in the Northern Territory. This was a program that was established by the Northern Territory Police Service to develop leadership skills in young people. I started in the program in year 9 and graduated in year 11. It was the most amazing three years of not only learning leadership skills but we did a HUGE range of other activities. Abseiling, bush survival skills, radio skills, public speaking, first aid courses every twelve months, navigating and orienteering and many, many more activities. 

6. When I was in year 10, I was accepted into a student exchange program with Indonesia. I spent the first six months of 1990 living on a very small island, Ternate, just over the equator in Indonesia with an Indonesian family. A family that I still call family even today. For six months I lived their way of life, I spoke Bahasa Indonesia every day. Most of time anyway, sometimes it was English when my two sisters and friends wanted to practice their English language skills, sometimes it was Bahasa Tidore or Bahasa Ternate when I was taught how to swear, shhh, in the local dialect! I went to school as well as doing school work from back home. I experienced life as anyone would who lived on Ternate. I even experienced a volcano erupting on the island. Oh. My. Goodness. I had never been that scared before!! 

7. I had my heart set on becoming a marine biologist to the point that I worked all my senior high school subjects and university units into working towards my goal of gaining a Bachelor of Marine Science. In year 11, I did a weeks work experience with the Marine Biology section of our local Natural History Museum and loved it. The head scientist told me at the end of the week, "any time you want to come back and volunteer, you are more than welcome." So I spent every school holidays and University break back at the Museum, volunteering!

8. My heart was set on becoming a marine biologist until I fell into the role as an Education Officer with the CSIRO Science Education Centre in the Northern Territory while studying science at University. It was in this role that I realised that my calling was not as a marine biologist but in working with children. In this role I traveled throughout the Northern Territory, the Kimberley Region in Western Australia and Queensland conducting hands on science sessions for school students from Prep (4 and 5 year olds) right through to Year 12 students as well as running in service sessions for teachers and university students. It was my dream job - I was developing hands on science sessions based on the school curriculum and then going out into schools and passing on my love of science.

9. My year 11 physics teacher had the audacity to tell me in class in front of all the other students that I wouldn't achieve anything in science because I was a girl. So I set out to prove him wrong. One of the highlights when working for the CSIRO Science Education Centre was seeing the look on his face when I went into his science class to teach a forensics science unit! Moral of this story - don't ever tell me that I can't do something because I will set out to prove you wrong!

10. While working for the CSIRO I was awarded a Queens Trust for Young Australians Award to travel around Australia viewing education programs in zoos, museums, botanic gardens, science centres and other places that ran education programs for school students. The Queens Trust Awards were established during Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee. This was a month long tour and it was amazing. It opened my eyes as to what was available to teachers and what other opportunities were available as an education officer. It also gave me loads of ideas to adapt into programs that I could conduct at our centre in the NT. Lots of fun!

11. Due to my work in the science field I was a finalist in the Young Australian of the Year awards on three occasions. This was an honour in itself to have my work recognised as making an impact in the field of science. I may not have won but being a finalist was enough.

12. While living in Darwin I gained my SCUBA diving certificates by diving in Darwin Harbour. Probably not the best place to learn to SCUBA dive - think zero visibility in the water, crocodiles, sharks and various jellyfish all of which were very capable of maiming and potentially killing people, and huge tides that sent you either out into the Timor sea or down into the mangroves. But the history hidden in Darwin Harbour is amazing - World War Two Wrecks, many of which you can still see the massive features on the shipwrecks. And if you can handle diving in Darwin Harbour with zero visibility, you can dive anywhere else!

13. I was also introduced to the sport of Rock Climbing while living in Darwin. The indoor gym was an old World War II oil tank and many a night and weekend would be spent scaling the walls, inside and outside, and setting new routes! And if we weren't at the indoor gym, we were somewhere in the Top End climbing outdoors. Yep, I used to be a little bit of a thrill seeker!!

14. I was given the honour of running with the Olympic flame in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics. This was a huge buzz. I ran 400 metres down one of the main roads in Darwin and I will never forget the feeling. O loves looking at my Olympic Torch, especially in the lead up to an Olympic Games. O gets a buzz that the Olympic flame that she can see during the Torch relay or burning bright over the Olympic stadium on TV, once was carried by her Mum on the Olympic torch that she's holding in her hot little hands.

15. I did a stint as a snare drummer in a RSL Pipes and Drums unit! The band needed a few more drummers, so I put my hand up!

16. I have worked in the education and early childhood industry for a little over 20 years (jeez, makes me sound old!) I've worked as a tutor, as an Education Officer, I've developed and conducted hands on educational programs, I've worked with at risk youth and I've worked, and am still working in, the early childhood industry.

17. I was a Police Officer for seven years in Central Queensland. When I started at the North Queensland Police Academy I was the shortest recruit out of both intake squads. I can vividly recall the very first time that I attempted the obstacle course - I ran towards a wooden wall and thought that there was no way that I was going to make it over the wall by myself. The wall was taller than my height. The first time, one of my fellow recruits gave me a leg up over the wall - we were running the obstacle course as a group! The second time through, I knew that I had to get over the wall myself. And I did. I ran hell bent for leather at the wall, used both feet to push up off of the ground and smashed my lower arms into the top of the wall as leverage to push over the wall. The other recruits and trainers used to piddle themselves laughing as all they could see from the other side of the wall was a hat bobbing up and down and then they'd see me appear! I graduated from the Police Academy as joint Dux of the intake - the first time that two women had been joint Dux! Working as a Police Officer made me physically and mentally stronger and I have formed friendships with my then colleagues that will last a life time. It was an experience that I'll never forget. It had it's moments and I saw things that I can't unsee but it was great life experience. And I resigned purely because my personal priorities had changed with the arrival of O and Daddy superhero was offered a promotion to Western Australia.

18. I was involved in motorcycle racing as a marshall, scrutineer and time keeper for road racing, motocross and speedway in North Queensland but had to resign from my position when I started as a recruit with the Queensland Police Service. Not because the QPS wanted me to resign, but because the local organization did not want a police officer in their ranks! Go figure!

19. I have lived in three states and territories in Australia and have visited every other state and Territory, including Norfolk Island, except for Tasmania. One day I will get there!

20. I LOVE Lilo and Stitch. I was asked a few weeks ago what my favourite movie was and I honestly couldn't answer until the question was rephrased to "what movie could you watch over and over and never get tired of?" Easy! Lilo and Stitch! A few years ago one of my friends, thank you Alisha, went to Disneyland in the USA and brought me a little Stitch figurine. Best. Present. Ever!

So that's me in a nutshell!

1 comment:

  1. Can I just say that you are an inspiration to so many people. Thank you for being who you are. I feel blessed to know you xx


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