Francis Hayes

Retired Private
8th Battalion Royal Australia Regiment

Medals and Awards
Australian Service Medal South East Asia
Australian Defence Medal
Anniversary of National Service

‘All my family worked on cattle stations, and when I was 17, a friend of my family who served in Vietnam came a talked to me. I was seeking adventure and travel and the Army certainly gave me that. I changed from a young rat bag to a strong disciplined young man. I still fold my clothes and make by bed the same way as I did in the army days. The Army gave me life skills that helped me live life today.’
Francis is a Ngalakan man who has been living in and giving back to his community for most of his life. In his younger years Francis served Australia as the first Indigenous soldier from the Katherine region. Upon returning from service, Francis continued to give back to his community through tireless efforts to improve the health of men and vulnerable people (homeless or ‘long grass’ mob) in Katherine. Francis currently sits on the board of Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service and volunteers weekly at the StrongBala men’s clinic in Katherine. Francis is passionate about Aboriginal men’s health and helps by creating linkages between the clinic and the community to enhance access to health care for Aboriginal men. Francis has a special focus on the very vulnerable members of society and works with the clinic staff to introduce programs that help these people feel safe and comfortable accessing health care. Francis is proud of his culture and traditions; he runs cultural awareness programs to help non-Indigenous people understand the world from an Indigenous perspective and also contributes towards increasing cultural safety in primary health care contexts. Francis also sits on the board of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency. Francis is a well-respected Katherine community member and should be recognised and acknowledged for all of his great work! http://www.ruralhealth.org.au