Personnel from No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit based at RAAF Base Williamtown have received gifts from the Garby elders as a symbol of friendship.
The Garby Elders represent the traditional custodians of the Northern Lowlands Gumbaynggirr jagun (or country).
The unit has deployed surveillance and communications systems to the Gumbaynggirr jagun near Corindi in Northern NSW on multiple occasions for the past few years.
During these deployments, strong effort has been made to build lasting relationships with the Garby elders and the community.
Indigenous Liaison Officer RAAF Base Williamtown Flight Lieutenant Matthew Roberts said receiving traditional gifts of such significance was a great honour.
“The unit is now the proud custodian of clapping sticks and a digeridoo adorned with markings which tell of the Gumbaynggirr people together with the bond of friendship which has been forged with Number 3 Control and Reporting Unit personnel,” Flight Lieutenant Roberts said.
“It has been a humbling experience to play a part in supporting that ongoing relationship, which is very special.”
Commanding Officer No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit Wing Commander Simon Wildermuth said it was a connection that is truly valued.
“The Garby elders and Gumbaynggirr people have continued to welcome us onto their country in support of our training activities at Corindi this year during Exercise Lightning Storm,” he said.
“We respect the role that the Garby elders play as representatives of the traditional custodians of the land used to support our operations. As such, we are sincerely grateful for the opportunity to learn from them and the community about their land and culture.”
The preservation of Indigenous traditions and culture is something personnel are passionate about.
“In particular I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Flying Officer Andy Winter and Flying Officer Lucy Iddon. In conjunction with the Indigenous liaison officer they have both been instrumental in building a relationship with the Garby elders and Gumbaynggirr community.
“It is a relationship based on mutual respect, consultation and friendship that has been fostered over many years.”
In acknowledgement of the significance of the gifts, unit personnel have commissioned a display case to feature the digeridoo and clapping sticks permanently in the foyer of the No. 3 Control and Reporting Unit main building located at the Eastern Region Operations Centre.