The Navy has welcomed its newest recruits to the second Navy Indigenous Development Program for 2020. 

The course started on August 3 with a traditional Welcome to Country greeting and smoking ceremony performed by Henry Fourmile, a Cairns traditional owner and elder of the Yidinjdji people.

The program aligns with the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan to support young Indigenous adults seeking careers in the Australian Defence Force or Australian Public Service.

Officer in Charge Commander Mark Tandy has a passion for the program and what it delivers and means to young Indigenous Australians. 

“This course has been redesigned due to the current COVID-19 travel restrictions but has allowed for some fantastic local Indigenous experiences for the recruits,” Commander Tandy said. 

The recruits have undergone the initial formalities of uniform issue, medical appointments, drill and bearing, and have undertaken the Royal Australian Navy swim and physical fitness test and are now beginning to experience what the course has to offer. 

They have also experienced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural immersion days where they learned the traditions of their cultures. 

For recruit Trudy Salt it didn’t take long for her patience hunting along the mud flats of Mossman to pay off. 

Under the guidance of the Kuku-Yilanji Clan, Recruit Salt speared the group’s first crab using traditional hunting methods.  

Recruits also learned about Australian native foods, helping the traditional owners of Mossman plant traditional bush tucker plants.  

The recruits have a further three months ahead of them involving key learning modules operated through TAFE Queensland. 

At the end of a course scheduled for February 2021, recruits who choose a Navy career will head to HMAS Cerberus for basic training where 12 of the previous course members have just graduated. 

For more information about the Indigenous Development Program visit: