Sedoi Harvey
Badu Island (Malulgal Nation) and Darnley Island (Kemer Kemer Meriam Nation), Torres Strait Islands
Corporal
Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps (To the Warrior Their Arms)
Australian Army

Medals and Awards

International Force East Timor Medal
Australian Service Medal with clasp Timor-Leste
Defence Long Service Medal with first clasp (20 years)
Australian Defence Medal
Timor Leste Solidarity Medal
Meritorious Unit Citation –  10 Force Support Battalion

 

I was inspired to join the Army by seeing so many soldiers in Townsville as I was growing up in the 1970s. My family’s tradition of military service also inspired me to follow in their footsteps. My father, Private Harry Reuben, served in the Torres Strait Light Infantry during World War 2. I also had relatives who serve and are serving in the Army and Navy.

I first enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1993 in Townsville. I then transferred to the Regular Army and commenced my recruit training at Kapooka in southern New South Wales in August 1995. I was one of eight women in my platoon, and I have to say recruit training was the hardest thing I’d done up to that point. However, I came through a stronger, more resilient, more confident person.

Following Kapooka, I trained and worked as a clerk in the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps for two years in Canberra for the Directorate of Officer Career Management before my second posting at becoming a Supply Operator at 2 Field Supply Battalion, Townsville in 1997, which in 1998 became 10 Force Support Battalion. In October 1999, I deployed overseas on the first of two active operations in East Timor with the 10 Force Support Battalion, returning again for a second tour in 2007 with 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. 10 Force Support Battalion was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation for operations in East Timor during INTERFET in 1999–2000, we were the first logistics unit to be honoured with such an award. In 2001  I was posted with 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion, which is also in Townsville. I have also served three years with the Australian Federation Guard’s Ceremonial Unit. In 2003, I was very excited to be part of the Queen’s Royal Guard and to meet the Queen and Prince Phillip at the dedication of the Australian War Memorial in London on Remembrance Day. Afterwards, we had the privilege meeting with the Queen and Prince Philip, which was a highlight of my military career!

My fifth posting, in 2005 was back home with 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion. In 2007, I was posted to the Pilbara Regiment Karratha, part of our Regional Force Surveillance Group protecting our borders in the north-west of Western Australia. The Pilbara was a remote dry desert country, very different to what I was used to in North Queensland. Then, in 2010, I decided to have a break from Army life and worked for a while managing a hotel in country Victoria before moving back up to Far North Queensland to Weipa to work in the mining industry. While at Weipa, in 2015,  I returned to the Army Reserve and served with 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment. I really enjoyed my time at 51 FNQR, serving with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers. I experienced a great sense of pride and a strong connection to my Culture.  In 2015, I transitioned back to the Regular Army and was posted to the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment at Darwin before returning as quartermaster to Bravo Company, 51 FNQR.

In 2017, my husband Kevin, a veteran of 2/4RAR, 6 RAR and 5/7 RAR Battalions was diagnosed with cancer. At the same time, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We decided to return to Victoria so that Kevin could be near his family in Bendigo. My husband, Kevin, passed away in 2018. My last posting in the Army was with the School of Transport at Puckapunyal. I took my discharge on the 31st of January 2019 after more than twenty years of service in the Australian Army, both Regular and Reserve.

I now reside back home in Townsville, it’s always good to back to your roots. Looking back over a very long and rewarding career, I believe enlisting in the Australian Army was one of the best decisions I made. Service in the army gave me respect and self-confidence; I knew I could accomplish anything. It is very important to me, that as a Torres Strait Islander woman, I share my story so to highlight the service of all Torres Strait Islander women in the Australian Defence Force so that their achievements and their contributions to community and country are recognised and valued.