Gordon Adams
Birri Gubba Clan – Juru Nation, Thursday Island
Petty Officer
Electronics Technician
Royal Australian Navy

Medals and Awards
Australian Operational Service Medal – Border Protection
Defence Long Service Medal
Australian Defence Medal


I was born and raised in Cairns, Far North Queensland. My Indigenous heritage is on my mother’s side, and I grew up with this constant connection to our culture. Looking back on it now in my later years, I realise I didn’t appreciate then how big a part it would play in my life. My grandfather, William Hodges, was born and raised on Thursday Island and served in the Navy as a young man. He always stressed the importance of Serving Country, and his respect and pride for the uniform was significant enough that a number of my cousins also served over the years in a permanent or reserve capacity across all three Services. I joined the RAN in 2006. I began the enlistment process in Western Australia when my wife, Sarah, and I had our first child, Kyah. My main motivation for joining the ADF was stability for my young family and gaining transferrable skills and qualifications. After 18 years, six children and 10 interstate postings later, I’m still finding new things about my job that make me want to stay. With the intent of making this journey a career and not just a job, I’ll be starting a new career path in 2025 by commissioning as an Information Warfare Officer and studying for a Bachelor of Computing and Cyber Security at ADFA. My career highlight, thus far, was working at the Indigenous Pre-Recruit Program (IPRP) under the Navy Indigenous Development Program framework. It allowed me to return to Cairns and be with family while providing guidance and direction in an RAN capacity to aid in the development of the Program. Most importantly, I was able to share my knowledge of Defence life with other First Nations men and women who were starting their ADF journey. The 6-week Tri-Service Program opened many conversational doors for each Recruit about their own cultural experiences and life in general. This allowed a lot of healing and growth, but most importantly, we did it together as a community. Although life in the ADF is very rewarding, it can also be challenging at times. As a husband and a father, it’s important to acknowledge that these challenges also impact the lives of your family. Maintaining strong support foundations and recognising the importance of having quality family time when you can get it is essential. I hope that in time, our kids, Kyah, Tali, Sade, Eli, Indie and Remy, will understand all of the sacrifices that have been made to provide them with their life and upbringing during my time in the ADF.