Mark Woodhouse has been fortunate enough to travel more than many people and immerse himself in many different cultures. However, it’s his own culture that he is most proud of celebrated recently during NAIDOC Week.
Petty Officer Bosun Woodhouse discharged from the Navy after 25-years and is now a Navy reservist and a crew member of HMAS Choules currently on Exercise, Talisman Saber, taking place off the Queensland coast.
“During my fulltime career in the Navy I had many unique experiences and the opportunity to visit many countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, East Timor, Japan, Solomon Islands and most of South East Asia, to name a few,” Mark said.
“But I saw a chance to get involved with Indigenous Affairs, as a Recruitment Officer for the Australian Defence Force, so decided to lend my background to another cause while still maintaining my connection with the Navy, as a Reservist.
Mark is a Dockmaster on HMAS Choules which sees him playing an important part in contributing to Defence’s emerging amphibious capability as the ship’s company work closely with Army.
“It is great to be doing something that is quite unique to Defence and working with different groups,” he said.
“I have to work with Divers, Army and even other nations such as the United States, New Zealand and United Kingdom,” Mark added.
“So it is good to talk to others and see how we all work together to get the job done.”
Mark appreciates the time back in Defence as it allows him to step back, refocus and have a clearer direction about his life.”In civilian life, when you reflect on all the things you tell people about having been in the Defence Force, you realise that it is great to be able to go back to it for a while and experience those things such as camaraderie and involvement, routine and discipline.”
“It helps with your perspective on civilian life,” Mark said.
One of the highlights for Mark since joining the ship recently was having the Defence Indigenous Development Program, a department that provides trainees with Vocational Education and Training, improved literacy and numeracy skills, and specialised career and life skills training, come onboard HMAS Choules.
“As a person of Aboriginal heritage, I was really impressed with how the ship embraced them and the program,” said Mark.
NAIDOC Week celebrations are being held across Australia. NAIDOC celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life.