Tina Haywood
Yupungathi / Gangalidda (QLD) and Waka (NT)
Regional Force Surveillance Unit
Australian Defence Force

Australian Defence Medal


I and born and raised in a town called Mount Isa in Queensland. My father’s side is from Yupungathi/Gangalidda in QLD, and my mother’s side is from NT Waka. Inspired by my uncle who served in the Australian Navy, I joined the Australian Defence Force in 2013 and am currently serve as a Sergeant at the Regional Force Surveillance Headquarters. Throughout my career, I have served as an instructor, mentor, and have been involved in significant engagement and talks with RSO and international allies. I have had the honour of meeting many notable figures during my journey, including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, former Governor-General Quentin Bryce, numerous Senators, and Australia’s inaugural Ambassador for First Nations People, Justin Mohamed.

Regardless of our origins, it is how we navigate our journey and create our paths that truly matters. I wear many hats and aim to leave a positive impact on everyone I encounter. My dedication extends beyond my duties in the ADF, as I strive to inspire the younger generation and my community. In 2021, after publishing my story “We Are Warriors: An Aboriginal Woman’s Life” (2020) I established Blue Butterfly Skye to empower women, youth, and families who, like me, have suffered abuse and trauma. I hope my fight through the adversity of poverty, domestic violence, alcohol abuse, and racism to have a successful career in the Australian Defence Force can help others on their journey of self-discovery. I walk proudly on this earth, just as my ancestors once walked before me… this is not only for myself but for my family and community, and those I have adopted through culture and from the heart.