Robyn White - Motivation to join the ADF

Running time
2 min 34 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


I was living in Newcastle. My father was in the air force, so we moved around a lot when I was growing up, but we more or less settled in Newcastle. I was working as a registered nurse at a local hospital there. And basically, the desire to join up a service had been something that I'd wanted to do for a long time. And the conditions were right at a certain time for me to apply to join up at one of the services.

I did actually want to join the air force, but they weren't taking nursing officers at the time, nor were the Navy. So I went into the army. I was living and working in Newcastle before I joined up ..So I had joined the army reserve in 1988 as a musician, even though I couldn't really play my instrument very well. I was playing alto sax. But basically, there was an ad in the paper with the local army reserve band wanting musicians and I went along with my sister who can actually play. I was teaching myself the alto sax. So I was able to join up at that stage and be a musician in the army reserve for a couple of years.

So I had an understanding probably more of the army than I did of the air force when I was making the decision to join up… and I think I'd made a decision that I wanted to serve at some stage, because Dad was in the air force and I can certainly remember the moment where I felt I wanted to join up. Because there were some aspects of growing up in the services that I enjoyed, some that I didn't…I actually thought, yes, I do want to join up and I did look into say jobs in the air force where what they could train me to be.

I hadn't sort of really put the nursing and the service together. Even when I was in the band, I hadn't really put that together. And then I think it's just at some stage I realised, "Hey, I'm a nurse. I can join up as an officer," which is something that I did want to do. And so it kind of came together that way, more indirectly than it seems that it should have been, I guess.

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