perfect place for Big Brother
Corporal Simone Liebelt
Eddie Sequitin, cook at the Delamere Range Facility.
by SGT Mark Eaton
DELAMERE has all the ingredients of a great reality TV show. Eight
Air Force members living and working together while serving their
country at a remote outback post.
According to resident cook, Corporal Eddie Sequitin, its
like a Big Brother house without the eviction.
Of course, theyre much too busy for any Big Brother antics,
but it makes an appropriate analogy about life at Delamere.
Made up of a Range Safety Officer, cook, medic, supplier and three
explosive ordnance technicians, the small detachment is a happy
bunch of characters with an obvious fondness for their unique
As part of that lifestyle, they willingly give up weekdays with
their families to spend it out bush, more than 200km from RAAF
Base Tindal and 100km from the nearest neighbour.
They either catch a chartered 30-minute flight or take the two-hour
drive out. Fortunately, they get to go home on weekends, during
which time the range is managed by two Air Force caretakers.
Supplier Corporal Geoff Page says with a wife and two kids back
home at Katherine, its the love of the job that
keeps him coming back each week.
Its my third year here, and I love the place,
he says. Im one of those old-time equipos, so I like
to be outdoors doing stuff with my hands, rather than sitting
behind a computer screen.
Out here, youre not tied down doing the same thing
over and over again; theres always a chance to go out and
jump on a tractor or help the blokes clean up the ranges.
It really feels like Air Force because youre doing
something to directly support the aircraft flying, and can see
whats happening, like the bombs dropping. Then you get to
go out afterwards and clean it up, which is great.
Medical assistant Corporal Claire Aram, who also looks after all
the administration at Delamere, is the only female on board, and
has been for the past three years.
Its a great place, because we all get along really
well here, she says. Everyone gives that little bit
extra to not be overbearing, which could easily cause problems
within such a small unit.
Its been a totally different experience for me [as
a medic]. For instance, Ive had the opportunity to shoot
81mm mortars with the US Marines and Ive got a licence for
just about everything that drives. You keep your ears open and
you learn a lot out here.
She said being a remote posting doesnt make Delamere boring.
Sometimes it can be very peculiar, for instance, we didnt
have a cook one day so the four of us decided we didnt want
to cook for ourselves. So we drove 100km to the Top Springs pub,
which is the closest shop, so they could cook us a meal.
They only had spaghetti carbonara cooking that day, so we
ate that and then drove back again. It was a 200km trip just for
[As for my spare time at Delamere], Im a shocker for
TV shows. All the guys laugh at me, but at least it gets me away
As well as tolerating each other, they also have to share their
limited space with other visitors, such as the US Marine Corps,
who are currently staying on site as part of Exercise Southern
When the Americans come in, normally they are a mortar battalion,
which is a different type of Marine, says Corporal Page.
These guys are forward air defence, so every exercise is
different. Theyre all really nice guys and because youre
in such a tight community, you get to know them pretty well, so
While the average posting to Delamere is three years, most members
request to stay longer. Must be that Big Brother feeling.