A Posting to the Pilbara

Tex and his boys at Newman, WA

Tex and his wife Alex have three sons and are currently posted to the Pilbara in Western Australia. We wanted to know what life is like in a remote posting.

How did you and your partner meet?

Alex and I met in Townsville 2010; she was a bartender and I was posted to 2RAR.

Do you have children?

We have three sons – aged 8, 7 and 5.

A group of people standing next to a child

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How many postings have you had and where have you lived?

This is our second posting, our first being Townsville, 2RAR, and now Newman, A Troop The Pilbara Regiment.

Where do you live now?

We live in Newman, WA, in an area known as the Pilbara, we are on the edge of the little sandy desert, 450km inland from the Indian ocean and our closest Kmart.

How far away from Perth are you?

Newman is only 1268.5km from Perth, so a short 13hr drive. Distances all become relative out here.

Where are you both from originally?

I am originally from Tara, QLD, a town with a current population of 885 people, they had a bit of a population boom since I was there last. Alex was a defence brat so has travelled through VIC, NSW and eventually QLD.

Camping

What is the best thing about living in the Pilbara?

The small nature of the town means there is a larger focus on community, everyone is willing to get stuck in and help each other. Everyone knows each other, which means the kids you see down the park are the same kids that are playing the sport on the weekend, everyone looks out for each other kids and they have a freedom not possible in larger towns.

It’s a great opportunity to explore and truly enjoy their childhood. Plus, the camping is not bad at all. Karijini is literally just up the road, we have natural heated springs and access to swimming spots year-round. Being in the Pilbara has allowed us to access locations and experiences we had only seen on Google, such as the gorgeous Coral Bay, Dampier – home of the famous Red Dog, Cable Beach in Broome.

The Pilbara has also given us a true appreciation for the phrase ‘everything is relative’’, before a road trip of 300km was not something we would jump at, three kids and anything is a long way, these days we will do that each way, just to visit our mate a town over and go to the movies, the one night a month they are on at the drive in.

Fishing

What are the challenges of living remotely? What do you miss?

Challenges regarding the access to consistent medical care, wait lists for children’s specialist are probably the biggest and only issue out here. But the Army has been hugely supportive with accessing Perth services.

We miss being able to duck to the big shops when that last-minute birthday party pops up and the birthday gift box is looking bare, but you can create miracles down a supermarket aisle when the situation calls for it.

Alex and the boys

Does your partner work?

Alex works as an Education Assistant at school, and she is absolutely loving it. There is such a supportive environment within the school, the kids never want to leave.

What hobbies do you have as a family?

As a family we love to get out and explore, jumping in the car and finding a new turn on the local creek we haven’t explored yet is always popular. Taking the weekend and camping with friends, from March to October the weather is perfect. Between the five of us we are playing tee ball, men and womens cricket, touch footy and mixed volleyball. Exploring the local area and visiting the indigenous sites around Newman has enriched the kids understanding of their country.

A group of people standing next to a body of water

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Swimming at Weeli Wooli

Do you have any advice for others going to remote postings?

  • If you get the chance you need to embrace it, throw yourself into the local community, join a club, team or association. If you get to bring the kids, jump on the local P&C, it’s the best source of information and networking.
  • Be prepared to try new things, experience all that life has to offer. It has honestly been one of the best postings we could have asked for, the kids are thriving, we are happier as a family and have experienced more of the country in the past two years than in the eight we had in Townsville together.
  • We are looking forward to the next 12 months with anticipation of greater adventures and magical memories.
  • Drive to your posting if possible, when will you get the chance to travel through such amazing locations and experience so many different landscapes.

Thanks so much to Tex for sharing your family’s story and your photos

For more on the Pilbara

For more on moving and relocation.

Published by

Defence Families of Australia

National Advocacy body for current ADF families. We are all partners of current serving members.

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