I remember when I first arrived, I was walking through Smith Street Mall with a new friend and everyone was stopping and saying hello to her. Coming from a big city I was so shocked - she seemed to know everyone!
It wasn’t long until I was getting those same hello’s in the street and thinking to myself, wow this is a really friendly place.
I moved here in 1996 as a fresh graduate. Back in Queensland, it was quite a difficult environment to find work in, especially in the public sector, so I was really fortunate to be offered this incredible opportunity to move to Darwin and take up a trainee position with the Northern Territory Government’s Department of Housing.
From the very beginning of the graduate program they made it clear how important it was that I had a chance to see what I was writing policy for, to meet the people and understand the reality of life in remote areas.
Every few months we would rotate around the department to try different areas and really grow our skill set. Since then I’ve worked across eight different departments and taken every opportunity to develop my career.
I’m now the Director of Program Control for the Remote Program Delivery Office. Our division was established in the Department of Housing and Community Development back in 2017 to develop and implement the Northern Territory Government’s 10-year, $1.1 billion Remote Housing Investment Package – Our Community. Our Future. Our Homes.
I’ve always had the benefit of bosses that have recognised the importance of work-life balance; giving me the chance to grow my career and still make time for my family.
It used to be tricky to be away from them, but my parents actually ended up moving here back in 2011. Our weekend are filled with Caitlin’s dancing and martial arts activities, barbeques and coffee stops down by the foreshore. When the dry season hits we love to head out to Kakadu for the weekend to enjoy some camping.
Darwin is home now. I still remember when I first realised it. I’d been travelling back to Queensland to see family every now and then, and I would always say “I’m going home.”