When Raba Nona landed her dream job she knew that it would involve travel, but she never expected it to take her back to her family’s ancestral home in the Torres Strait Islands.
CAPTION: Proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman, Leading Aircraftwoman Raba Nona is lucky to get to visit her family’s ancestral home of the Torres Strait Islands while serving as part of No. 35 Squadron. Story by Flight Lieutenant Robert Hodgson. Photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Kate Czerny.
Leading Aircraftwoman Nona is an avionics technician in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), posted to No. 35 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley near Brisbane.
The squadron flies the C-27J Spartan transport aircraft – a shape that’s not unfamiliar in Torres Strait skies – and has close ties with the Torres Strait.
The Spartans are regular visitors to Horn Island, and the Air Force continues to strengthen the already developed connections between the Squadron and the local community.
In early July, a C-27J Spartan visited Horn Island in partnership with the Australian Olympic Committee to take Indigenous Basketball Australia to the Torres Strait.
Leading Aircraftwoman Nona was tasked to support the flight.
“This is a dream come true for me. I never would have believed that my work would bring me up to the Torres Strait,” Leading Aircraftwoman Nona said.
“I love my job: every day brings a new experience. I am learning all the time and best of all I get to work with my mates.”
Leading Aircraftwoman Nona spent most of her childhood in Cairns, but her mother is from Badu Island in the Torres Strait.
“All my family grew up and lived on Badu Island and I still have connections there,” Leading Aircraftwoman Nona said.
Her background was not lost on the local kids taking part in the community engagement. The whisper of “She’s a Badu girl” was heard being passed around as Leading Aircraftwoman Nona talked with the enthusiastic kids.
The Air Force is committed to the whole-of-government ‘closing the gap’ strategy through recruiting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women.
Leading Aircraftwoman Nona’s professionalism and commitment is just one part of that story.