The Royal Australian Air Force showed its appreciation and commitment to the past service and sacrifices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the unveiling of the ‘Worimi’ F/A-18A Hornet on February 24.
Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown was given the honour of unveiling the aircraft with its new attire in front of the family of WOFF Len Waters – Air Force’s first known Aboriginal fighter pilot – 2 invited Elders of the Worimi and assembled guests and more than 20 students of the Indigenous Pre-Recruitment course.
Held in a hangar at Avalon during the Australian International Airshow, the aircraft’s unique colour scheme was stencilled with WOFF Water’s pilot markings and the livery was designed by Australian design studio Balarinji. The artwork depicts a Kilyarr Kilyarr, the Wedgetail Eagle, a powerful bird of prey which dominates the skies over Australia’s land and seascapes. WOFF Water’s younger brother, Len and Len’s son, Glen, were in attendance on behalf of the Waters family and said how honoured they were to be there.
“It was a privilege and a wonderful occasion,” he said. “It was a very important day for our family and it meant a lot to have the aircraft named after him. It was unbelievable.” Mr Waters said Len always loved aircraft and was constantly building them – a foretaste of what was to come. “He loved flying and always did,” he said. “His head was always in the clouds. I wished his wife, Gladys, could have been here but she was too ill to travel from Brisbane. I congratulate the Air Force for putting this on for us.” In unveiling the Worimi Hornet, AIRMSHL Brown said it honoured the traditional owners of the land on which RAAF Base Williamtown now sits.
“This initiative expresses Air Force’s commitment to embracing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and contribution,” he said. “Air Force values the diversity of all our people, and this aircraft is a way to recognise Indigenous inclusion in a significant way. “Our people are our greatest asset for delivering air power. If we better understand, value and benefit from our collective diversity, Air Force will be a better organisation where people feel valued for their contribution to air power.” Director Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs – Air Force Group Captain Lisa Jackson-Pulver, said how personally touched she was with the unveiling.
“I never would have dreamt as a little girl that I would be standing in front of such distinguished people and doing something vitally important to the psyche and spirit of the Air Force,” she said.
Neville Lilley, an elder from the Worimi community at Port Stephens said the Worimi Hornet was a strong indication that Air Force was serious about acknowledging and respecting indigenous history and culture.
“Our people count it as a tremendous honour and privilege,” he said. “When the story is told about the Worimi aircraft and why it is painted in aboriginal colours, it will not only be a thrill and honour to the Worimi people who hear it but to all Aboriginals.” The efforts of CO 81WG Wing Commander David Warren and the combined workshops and ancillary maintenance section and RAAF Base Williamtown were acknowledged during the unveiling.
The livery took 400 individual motifs, done by hand-applied stencils.
From the 6th of July til the 11th of July NAIDOC week was celebrated .
It was wonderful to see the number of attendees increase for all 3 events compared to previous years even with the colder weather.
Winners on the Pony Racing
SAND DUNE ADVENTURES TAKES OUT GOLD
QANTASLINK HUNTER AND CENTRAL COAST AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN TOURISM - INDIGNEOUS TOURISM CATEGORY
Sand Dune Adventures is grinning at winning 2 years in a row, having received the Gold Award for Excellence in Tourism in the “Indigenous Tourism Category” at the prestigious 2014 QantasLink Hunter/Central Coast Awards. The award recognises excellence in tourism in the given category.
Providing a variety of quad bike tours; Sand Dune Adventures showcases the richness of Aboriginal culture and heritage contained within the Worimi Sand Dunes which; are recorded as being the largest coastal dune system in the Southern Hemisphere. Led by experienced Aboriginal guides; this breath taking experience offers 360 degree picturesque views of the Stockton Bight, Tasman Sea and the surrounding Blue Mountain Ranges; along with the exhilaration of riding across this desert-like landscape, this Award Winning experience should definitely be on everyone’s ‘Bucket List’ of things to do.
Andrew Smith CEO comments,
“Winning the first time around was a great honour but; to go back to back – two years in a row, is incredibly humbling. Tourism is a rich and dynamic industry and thanks to the commitment and passion of our Board Members, Staff and community members, we’ve gone from being a small modest not-for-profit enterprise to marketing on an International Platform. We’re also very thankful for our inclusion in the ‘Indigenous Tourism Champions Program’ administered by Tourism Australia, as well as the huge support we’ve continued to receive from Destination NSW , Destination Port Stephens and certainly our experienced counterparts. We still have so much to learn and offer and we will continue to grow from strength to strength.
All of the winners now go on to become finalists in the State Tourism Awards to be held in Sydney on Thursday, 27 November 2014.
2013 Port Stephens Examiner Annual Business Awards
GOLD WINNERS – Best Tourist Attraction
Winners were announced across over 30 categories at the 2013 Port Stephens Annual Business Awards held at Wests Nelson Bay on Wednesday September 4th. The night was attended by more than 550 of Port Stephens community.
Sand Dune Adventures were nominated in the Tourist Attraction Category. SDA were so surprised to get a phone call telling us that we had been nominated and then voted in by the public.
For the staff that attended on the night we were very surprised & happy to win the Tourist Attraction category for 2013.