30 May 2023
National Reconciliation Week
An Army officer shares her Indigenous culture with others while deployed overseas.
At weekends, Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Anne Dufficy can be found sitting with a paintbrush in her hand creating a sense of calm for herself.
The dots she paints connect not just images, but her Indigenous story with others.
“When you’re deployed, work is all around you. If someone’s got a question while I’m having dinner, I’m there for them, but painting is time out for me,” WO2 Dufficy said.
Deployed in Sinai, Egypt, WO2 Dufficy is painting the entertainment wall at The Cove – the recreation area for the Australian contingent to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) at South Camp in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Warrant Officer Dufficy said the area was lovely but did not display any Australian culture.
“When I first came here, I noticed the Canadians identifying their First Nations, and the Kiwis with their strong Māori culture, so I wanted to showcase ours,” she said.
“I have some Aboriginal blood, but I predominantly identify as a Torres Strait Islander, so I thought I’d tell my story on the mural.”
Her mural fuses Aboriginal stories with the MFO, featuring a rainbow serpent, the creator of earth in Dreamtime.
Two circles represent the north and south camp and sit below the MFO emblem.
A bright orange map of Australia sits underneath the dot paintings.
“This represents the poem I like called I love a sunburnt country,” she said.
Gaps have been filled with colourful handprints from 56A rotation personnel.
“The men and women sign their name next to their design, making their mark on the wall,” she said.
WO2 Dufficy said it was important to bring Indigenous culture to the MFO.
“We’re a very multicultural country and nations here want to know why we all look different,” she said.
“Not a lot of people overseas know much about the Indigenous Australians. I want to share as much as I know about the culture to my new friends here.”
WO2 Dufficy is the force chief clerk, providing administrative advice and policy guidance to the force headquarters.
She also manages administration for the 13 MFO nations.
WO2 Dufficy is part of the Army Indigenous cultural advisory board and loves receiving care packages from Indigenous children all over Australia.
“They really want to know about the culture here in Egypt, and we love writing letters back to the kids,” she said.
“We know there’s a lot of support from home because of the deadly care packages coming through. Thanks to all the mob back home for their support.”