Tests do not normally rate as a favourite moment, but for Recruit Isabella Thaiday, it was her time to shine. 

Raised in Redlynch, Queensland, she did not have far to travel for her opportunity with the Navy Indigenous Development Program in Cairns. 

“I am a strong swimmer and love the water so when it came to the test I really enjoyed it, I was able to help and encourage others to keep going and push through,” Recruit Thaiday said. 

“We do a lot of fitness on the program so I know we’ll all get there.”

In partnership with the Queensland Government, the Navy Indigenous Development Program runs adventure training at the Northern Outlook in Redlynch.

There the recruits undertake a number of activities, including indoor climbing to build skills in trust, teamwork and leadership. 

Recruit Thaiday said the program came with challenges at times, including early starts. 

“I am not a morning person at all, so waking up at 5am is hard for me, but we all have to do it,” she said.  

Dawn routines, drill, military dress and bearing help develop skills, routines and mindsets for future Defence or civilian careers.

A partnership with TAFE Queensland also offers an adapted education element to teach comprehension and numeracy skills.

Recruit Thaiday said working together, making new friends and learning where everyone is from was a highlight.

“I was born here in Cairns but I am from the Juru Tribe, Erub Island in the Eastern Torres Strait, it has been great meeting people from different places on the program,” she said. 

“I have enjoyed so much so far but the main part would be team building and the traditional dancing.”

Recruit Thaiday was looking forward to seeing her family at graduation on June 24 where marching skills will be put to the test and recruits will perform the traditional dances learnt during the cultural immersion days in front of friends and family. 

“My family are very proud of me, after the program I am looking to continue on in the Navy and would like to be a marine technician,” Recruit Thaiday said. 

To secure a place on the Navy Indigenous Development Program or for more information visit www.defence.gov.au/APSCareers/Indigenous/adf.asp