In Katherine your friends become your family.
I’m originally from New Zealand but it was way too cold for me there. So when I came to Darwin on a holiday 16 years ago, I never went home again. I love the warmer weather of the Territory. I also met the man who would become my husband here – another good reason to stay!
My husband is a firefighter in the RAAF and we were posted to Newcastle for a while, but three years ago we were posted to Katherine. I was so pleased to return to the Territory. Although Katherine is much bigger than I originally thought, there is a real feeling of community here. Walking down the street can take forever because I know nearly everyone we bump into. I think that’s one reason why I prefer Katherine to Darwin. Also, the weather here is a lot drier than in Darwin – but it still gets hot!
Katherine is such an incredibly friendly and welcoming town and we live a really relaxed life here.
There is an evident Defence population here in Katherine, and the level of support for families is fantastic. The Defence liaison and the Padre are both great and provided a lot of extra support while my husband was on deployment for 7 months.
Katherine is a great place to raise a family. We have a fully equipped hospital and surgeons from Darwin visit regularly. We also have a Careflight base in the town. My 10-year-old son attends a local primary school and I’m really pleased with the level of education he receives. The schools here are amazing at supporting Defence families. When my husband returned from deployment, the school arranged for him to surprise our son by revealing his return at school assembly. It was so lovely to see my son’s surprise when his dad walked out on the stage in front of the whole school to present him with an award.
I can’t even manage to play a full song on the radio.
During our four years in Newcastle I found it impossible to get a job, even though I have qualifications. I must have sent out about 65 applications! When we got to Katherine I was able to get a job with a bank in town almost straight away. Although I enjoyed the work, I found it challenging to work with supervisors or other teams who were not located locally.
Now I work at the Motor Vehicle Registry in town as a customer service officer. There are lots of different aspects to my job, and I still get to meet lots of people every day; working for the Northern Territory Government means I have support right here in the community. All the members of my team are local and I can contact them easily whenever I need them. It has certainly helped me feel much more part of the community.
In the town we have an arts centre, an Olympic size swimming pool and a golf course, and there’s also motocross and a speedway. My family loves to go camping and fishing, and there are plenty of beautiful locations around Katherine. Nitmiluk National Park is on our doorstep, so we often go camping near the gorge and swim in Edith Falls. There are even hot springs at Mataranka, if you want to unwind. Sometimes I just love to ride my motorbike out to the Gorge and have a coffee. It’s so peaceful being surrounded by the rugged environment and the wildlife.
We are lucky here because we are only a short flight away from Asia, but at the moment we’re just happy to explore everything the Northern Territory has to offer us.