Commanding Officer No. 383 Squadron Wing Commander Alan Brown on September 30 was presented an artwork painted for the squadron by Kailin Kyle.
CAPTION: Commanding Officer No. 383 Squadron Wing Commander Alan Brown, centre right, and RAAF Base Townsville Indigenous liaison officer Flight Lieutenant David Williams with artist Kailin Kyle, centre, Stars Foundation’s Emma Ferguson, left, and Jean Murphy. Story by Flying Officer Robert Hodgson.
Ms Kyle is a recent participant of the Stars Foundation Indigenous support program, which has a strong connection with No. 383 Squadron.
The painting, entitled Connected through Country, signifies the role the cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Defence play in protecting Australia.
Ms Kyle has a passion for art and sharing her culture through painting.
She hopes to one day run her own business, selling her paintings to educate and inspire others.
At the heart of the painting is an Indigenous spear-throwing device, a woomera, which also features on No. 383 Squadron’s badge.
The woomera acts as an extension of the arm, enabling a spear to travel at a speed and force greater than if the spear was thrown using the arm alone.
As such, it is symbolic of the role No. 383 Squadron plays in Air Force in providing expeditionary combat support.
The Stars Foundation provides a holistic program that supports Indigenous girls and young women to attend and remain engaged at school, complete Year 12, and move successfully into work or further study.
The program is based on strong, trusting relationships.
It provides a culturally safe environment where the girls and young women in the program feel understood, nurtured and inspired.
Wing Commander Brown said he was delighted to accept Mr Kyle’s artwork on behalf of the squadron and was proud of the link between No. 383 Squadron and the Stars Foundation.
“383 Squadron implemented an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Engagement Program in 2019, which involved the Stars Foundation,” Wing Commander Brown said.
“We offer visits to the squadron plus work experience to the girls to highlight the variety of different job roles within Air Force and Defence.”
Wing Commander Brown also recognised the relationship was very much a two-way street.
“No. 383 Squadron personnel have the great opportunity to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait cultures first hand through our interactions with the students,” he said.
The Queensland transitions manager for the Stars Foundation, Emma Ferguson, said the bond between the foundation and No. 383 Squadron was important.
“Stars Foundation’s relationship with No. 383 Squadron in Townsville began around two years ago and is an important part of our education, training and employment focus,” Ms Ferguson said.
“It gives our young women a great opportunity to learn more about what it is like to work for the RAAF and the range of opportunities on offer.
“Our students have visited the base on many occasions, with No. 383 Squadron providing activity days, work experience placements, and short visits when an unusual aircraft is in town.”
Ms Kyle’s artwork will be hung in a prominent position in the headquarters building at RAAF Base Townsville.