From the quiet and open plains of Chitwan in Nepal to the bustling streets of Melbourne, Australia, Seaman Dhan Khadka considers both to be his home.
CAPTION: Navy sailor Seaman Dhan Khadka in HMAS Adelaide’s wardroom during his deployment on Operation Tonga Assist 2022. Story and photo by Leading Seaman David Cox.
Seaman Khadka was born in a small village 150 kilometres east of the Kathmandu Valley and followed his brother in migrating to Australia, arriving in Melbourne on Christmas Day 2008.
“I initially came to Australia on a study visa and studied automotive mechanic technology for two years,” Seaman Khadka said.
“But I wanted to follow a path where I could be surrounded by people, so I started working in the hospitality industry within hotels and bars in Melbourne.”
Seaman Khadka was up for a challenge and took the chance to pursue a more fulfilling career.
His father was an infantry soldier in the Indian Army for 33 years and it was a natural progression to follow in his footsteps and join the military.
“When I was searching for a job on the Defence recruiting website, I read about being a support operations sailor and thought that it best suited my skill set,” Seaman Khadka said.
“I enjoy working in the wardroom. It gives me a chance to spend a lot of time with a lot of different people, which I love.”
Seaman Khadka is serving in HMAS Adelaide, which deployed on Operation Tonga Assist 2022 at short notice on January 17.
This is Seaman Khadka’s first sea posting and, when he was asked whether he wanted to go ashore on Pangaimotu Island to help with the clean-up, he jumped at the opportunity.
“Helping the local community by cleaning up the island was a refreshing and re-energising feeling,” Seaman Khadka said.
“I’ll always remember helping out. It was meaningful work and I’m proud that my first trip away was able to help the Tongan people. I’m very lucky to have had that opportunity.”
The Australian Defence Force is deployed on Operation Tonga Assist 2022 as part of the Australian Government’s support to the Tongan Government following the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano.