Christal Ware
Panay, Angkamuthi/Atambaya Clans
Torres Strait Islands
51st Battalion Far North Queensland Regiment
Charlie Company
Australian Army

I was born, raised, and schooled in St. Paul’s community on Moa Island. Straight after I finished high school, I started working for the local government. I started out as a Centrelink agent, then went to payroll, then to multi-skilled administration officer, and then to acting Divisional Manager. I was there for 13 years before I enlisted.

It was always my passion to join the Australian Defence Force. I wanted to do it after I finished, but the mindset you have back home is that you are a girl, you’re supposed to work in the office. But I still wanted to try something different, challenge myself and do something out of my comfort zone. I was wanted to join because of my grandfather, Charles Mene, he fought in the Middle East and New Guinea during the war, and would go on to be awarded the Military Medal for bravery in Korea. He said, ‘I know that I am fighting for a new world in which my people will get a better deal’. His brothers also joined, and so did my dad’s father. I was 33 when I joined in 2020. I felt nervous as I thought I wasn’t going to get in because of my age. But for me, it was more important for me to wait until my children, who are now twelve and eighteen, were a bit older before I enlisted – I didn’t want to miss out on seeing them grow up. I have more time now, ‘cause with Army Reserve, I still get time at home and go to work.

It’s hard to describe what it’s like, but I enjoy being in the Army. You leave home and your family, but then when you come into the Army, you are with your second family. So, I don’t miss home, and I don’t get homesick because we’re just one big family. Working together like we do builds that relationship.

I’m trying to work my way up and see how far I can go. I’m ticking some boxes, but I just have a little bit more to go. Since I joined, I’ve been on six operations and have attended administration, catering, transport, and driving courses.

My older daughter went to cadets and actually signed up. She is currently going through the ADF Career Pathways Indigenous Program. She wants to be a nurse, and I am encouraging her to pursue a career in the Army or Navy. Whichever one she chooses, I’m sure she will enjoy it as much as I do.