Carol Watego-Morgan
Nyawagi South Sea Islander on my mother’s side
Bunjalung on my father’s side
Leading Seaman, Hydrographic Systems Operator
Royal Australian Navy

Medals
Defence Long Service Medal
Australian Defence Medal

 

I was born in Ayr North Queensland and I am the 11th child from a family of 15.  I joined the Royal Australian Navy at aged 17 ½, my first night away from home I thought to myself, “Oh my goodness, what have I done” but I stuck it out because I knew how proud all of my family were of me and this lifted me in those dark times when I thought it was too hard to go on.  I met and married my husband whilst in the Navy and we have 4 children, we have juggled raising our family while one or the other were posted to ships.

I was the first of my immediate family to enlist. My sister and brother both joined the Navy, as did a nephew and niece, but my son and another nephew both opted for green and joined the Army. Actually, my family has a long military history going back to WWI and WW2.

I have had postings to HMAS establishments Cerberus, Cairns, Kuttabul, Coonawarra and sea posting to HMAS Kanimbla, Mermaid, Paluma, Leeuwin and Melville. My last posting was to Defence Force Recruiting in Townsville and Cairns, where I had the pleasure of being part of the team that established the Defence Indigenous Development Program in 2010. When I was first posted to HMAS Cairns in 1993 I was one of maybe 5 indigenous members on base I can proudly say that because of the course myself WO1 Don Bowie and POB Clinton Tippo designed and established there has been over 100 graduates that have gone on to serve in the Royal Australian Navy.  I feel so privileged and humbled that I contributed to something that has been so overwhelmingly successful. I smile to myself when I see so many Indigenous brothers and sisters on the base and think back to how different it was when I first got here.

I have no regrets from my time in the Navy it has shaped me into the strong Indigenous woman I am today. I take the lessons I have learnt over my career and life and pass on, so that the hardships I endured others do not have to.