Matthew Jones
Darnley Island (Erub), Torres Strait
Rifleman 25/ 49 RQR
Australian Army Reserves

Maritime Warfare Officer
Royal Australian Navy

Australian Service Medal with clasp South Pacific 2006
Australian Operational Service Medal Border Protection
Australian Defence Medal


Against the odds –  that are still faced by Indigenous children, I graduated high school and then from university with a Bachelor of International Business & a Bachelor of Arts in 2005. Following my military service and completing my professional studies, I became only the ninth Indigenous Australian to be admitted as a full member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand in 2014. My experience is in stark contrast to that of my father, veteran John Enchong, who had to have a government exemption to even go to primary school.

In 2001, I followed in his footsteps and those of my Grandfather, along with many other Torres Strait Islanders and enlisted in the Australian Army Reserve. I served as an infantry rifleman in the 25th/49th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment as a Private from 2001 to 2004.

I enjoyed my time as a Reservist and wanted to serve in the military full time, although I wanted to make my own way and so I joined the permanent Navy instead of the Army as a Maritime Warfare Officer (then Seaman Officer) in 2005. I served in HMA Ships Newcastle, Perth, Anzac, Darwin and the Patrol Boat force.

In 2006, I deployed on Operation Quickstep, the ADF’s contribution to ensure the safety of Australians and approved foreign nationals during the 2006 coup in Fiji. I also deployed on Border Protection duties – Operations Resolute and Relex II.

One of my highlights was working with our international peers and seeing how the sea both separates and unites countries. My first ship also was commanded by David Johnston, who would later become Chief of the Defence Force and provided an excellent standard for junior officers to follow.

However, I did experience racism in the ADF, particularly in the Navy and it was this treatment along with a few other experiences that led me to exit Navy. These experiences were subsequently accepted and acknowledged by the Navy, and I have received a formal apology.

I left the ADF in 2010 as I believed that my skills would be more appropriately recognised and rewarded within the private sector. Following completing my CA, I believed I could achieve more in my professional career, for my family, and for my Indigenous community as an executive and a board member. So, with the assistance of a scholarship, in 2016 I completed my MBA at the University of Queensland and secured a corporate executive position. When the company I worked for closed during the pandemic, I took another leap forward and set up my own management consultancy. I called my firm ‘Malu’, a word from my Torres Strait Creole language meaning deep water. It’s about taking my clients on a journey to find blue market opportunities and it also connects to my Naval service and my people’s history as mariners.

As an Indigenous Australian, proud of my culture, it is very important to me that I use the confidence, skills, and experience I have gained not only in my professional career and to provide for my family but also to give back to my community. I am a director on the boards of Aboriginal Community Housing Limited and formerly DVConnect QLD. These two not-for-profit organisations address critical issues, particularly for Indigenous Australians those with housing insecurity, along with domestic and family violence.

My military service and education have enabled me to be the best version of myself I can be. My passion in life now is to share the capabilities and knowledge these opportunities have afforded me to mentor and empower my fellow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and my broader community to pursue their dreams and make them a reality.