Grace Casey-Maughan
Flight Lieutenant FLTLT
No. 464 Squadron
Royal Australian Air Force

Australian Defence Medal

My name is Grace, and I am a Ngarigo balan. I grew up on the South Coast of New South Wales, on beautiful Yuin Country. I spent my childhood playing and learning in the bush, as I grew up on 100 acres off the grid. My time was spent exploring the coastline with my family, and riding my horse in the bush. I learned about our native flora and fauna, and how to maintain a life off grid. I loved my childhood and it deeply instilled a love of Country and the importance of caring for Country. There’s nothing that fills my cup more than being out bush, listening to birds and watching the wind move through the trees.

After school finished, I moved to Canberra, Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country, to undertake a degree in International Studies at the University of Canberra. I loved the cold, and being so much closer to my mother’s Country – the Snowy Mountains. Canberra’s vibrant sunsets and diversity of small grass birds are two of my highlights during this time.

In 2018 I was approached while at a community event and asked if I had considered a role with the Military. I answered honestly, I hadn’t. I was supported and encouraged to apply for the new Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) role of Indigenous Liaison Officer (ILO).

I was successful in my application and in December of 2018 graduated from Officer Training School as the inaugural ILO for the Australian Capital Territory. I loved the role. I was working for community and with community. There was nothing I enjoyed more than a cuppa and yarn with Elders and community members, and amazingly I was being paid to do it! I had some really incredible times in the position, the highlights including community engagement flights to Western New South Wales (with an incredible ramp ride over the Illawarra and Sydney Harbour), mentoring on Indigenous Youth Programs, and providing cultural advice to a keen and receptive senior leadership.

In 2022 I decided that I wanted to pursue an alternative career in the RAAF and successfully applied for a re-specialisation to Personnel Capability Officer. After completing my training at RAAF Base Wagga, Wiradjuri Country, my partner and I moved up north to RAAF Base Williamtown, Worimi Country. During this posting, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Worimi Elders, and enjoying the beauty of the region – most notably the whale migration and the striking Gymea lily. I look forward to what is next in my Military career.

Since moving to Worimi Country my partner and I have been joined by our son, a cheeky and busy Ngarigo bubal. The joy he brings to our lives makes me so excited for the future, and to share culture with him. I will foster in him the same love for Country and pride in our bloodlines, and in turn he will foster the same in his children. We are still here, and we will be for a great long while yet.