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5 Steps to being a leading career educator

Career education isn’t social work and it isn’t psychology, although it could be a bit like fortune telling if you don’t keep up with the changes to career development.

Predicting the future

These 5 clear steps will help you to build your capacity to confidently lead students to their best career.

Be an expert

You can’t wing it as a career advisor. People believe you are the expert. People believe what you say. A flippant comment or ill informed advice from you can change the direction of their lives.

Don’t do computer programming. Computers are a passing fad.

1990’s Phys Ed Teacher/Career Advisor to high school student in Geraldton

You have a personal responsibility to be the expert, to KNOW where to look for the right information.

Empower yourself with knowledge

STEP 1: Get a qualification. Join professional organisations. Make sure your skills are current.


Moore’s Law says the capacity of computers doubles every two years. I think the pace of change is doubling every two years. I look back on 2019 and it seems like ancient history.

You can’t keep up with the changes that every student is experiencing. What they bring to the table in 2021 is going to be vastly different to what you would have expected from a similar student in 2019.

Students even look different

If you bring a deep appreciation of how much things have changed to the table, you will be more able to listen, empathise and question until you understand.

STEP 2: Appreciate the world view of your student.


Everyone, from the OECD and World Economic Forum to teachers writing to parents, is trying to help people to make rational, data driven career decisions.

There is so much change flickering into view. Career advisors must be able to discriminate between the latest bright, new, shiny thing, and a substantial initiative that could deliver a lifetime of career satisfaction.

Actively study the research

STEP 3: Do the hard yards. Study the research. Go to conferences. Keep up with professional developments.

Tech Tools

I love tech. The latest gadget, app, block chain initiative sends me down rabbit holes for hours.

If you don’t love tech, you need to figure out how to keep up.

Know your digital world

STEP 4: Find out about digital career tools at meetings, conferences and workshops.


When I worked in Arnhem Land the whole community worked to support students to find their best career.

We had NorForce (Defence) taking on cadets, unionists working as Master (Electrician) Mentors to would-be apprentices, the principal’s sister in Cairns providing accommodation to an interior design work experience student. Every business in town was willing to take people for work experience. Ex students and community members were mentoring students.

Throughout Western Australia, there is significant goodwill on the table waiting to engage with and support students who want to explore career opportunities and develop knowledge and skills.

Work with others

STEP 5: Reach out and collaborate with your community, with industry or with the In Focus Careers network to expand the opportunities available to your students.

Deliver Insanely Great Career Education

Keep up to date with the latest career news in Western Australia. Subscribe to the Infocus Careers Newsletter as your first step towards linking to a world of insanely great career ideas.

Infocus Careers is an independent organisation which is solely supported by insanely great subscribers who share information with me, support each other and help me to pay my bills.

I can talk about careers under water so if you would like to chat about how I can help you to improve your career or the services you deliver, give me a ring on 0434056412 or email me at

Become part of the network of West Australian professionals who are working to deliver the best career support in the world. 

I come across careers information for adults every month as I am putting together the In Focus Careers News for schools. I have collated it in this monthly supplement because so many people have no idea what is available or where to start looking.

I hope it helps you to create a better life for yourself.

Infocus Careers is an independent organisation which is solely supported by insanely great subscribers who share information with me, support each other and help me to pay my bills.

I can talk about careers under water so if you would like to chat about how I can help you to improve your career or the services you deliver, give me a ring on 0434056412 or email me at

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Is it time to become a butterfly? My commitment as incoming WA President of the CDAA


Since I took on the In Focus Careers Resources Centre, I have been cocooned in my home office, endeavouring to set up the world’s best career education support network right here in WA. 

2021 is my time to break out of my cocoon and spread my wings.

I have stepped up to take on the role of President of the WA Division of the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) for 2021.

The more I work with the CDAA the more I appreciate their professional commitment to: 

  • Collaboration
  • Excellence and
  • Empowering members

They are a cool group of enthusiastic leaders that I wanted to support in the best way I can. 

My Commitment

butterflyI will be a visible leader who works to build the profile of our industry. 

Career services are frequently seen as a “nice to have” luxury by people as they pursue their ad hoc and busy work of getting a qualification and getting a job.

I will:

  • advocate for collaboration between career professionals and with government, industry and community to build our authority in strategic and operational endeavours
  •  enthusiastically share ideas, engage with others and influence the professional development services to achieve excellence in our industry
  • raise awareness of our power to boost educational achievement, focus career aspirations, and improve quality of life.

Invitation to YouMany butterflies

My ask of you is that you….

engage with the CDAA with courage and creativity to become leaders of change with new approaches to the problems of today and tomorrow.

We need experienced, visionary career professionals to be at the core of decision making, advocating for the human and financial value that career services deliver. 

You can join the CDAA HERE  or support our efforts by attending CDAA events, forwarding your ideas and actively promoting career professionals in Western Australia.

Next Steps

The West Australian CDAA Committee is coming to my place for lunch on Thursday and we will set priorities and add to the CDAA calendar that has already been planned for 2021. 

  • Lisa Liang has already planned the first network breakfast for February at Dome in East Vic Park and it is  up on the CDAA Calendar. I will publish that information when it is ready. 
  • Career Connect Rob Palmer has been working for months with Notre Dame to organise the Career Connect seminar for 12 February. 
  • Rob is also the organiser of the Community of Practice meetings which happen on the 4th Tuesday of each month. Rob has suggested that we start these meeting with a short presentation from an expert before we move onto our informal chat.
  • CEAWA  has agreed to work with us to build on the efforts put in by Robyn Ekberg, CEAWA and Rebecca Herbertson CDAA that were stopped due to COVID in 2020.
  • Janine Blake (nee Kannemeyer) has secured the support of the Food Fibre and Timber ITC which is making its meeting rooms available to our Committee.  
brown and white swallowtail butterfly under white green and brown cocoon in shallow focus lens

Bev Johnson

2021 CDAA WA Division President

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Study Coach: Save Time. Get Better Marks.

Cosi asked me if I would come to his school to deliver study skills to students. I hadn’t realised this was something teachers were looking for.

I have pulled together my study coach program here.

Students need to work with teachers to create SMART goals which will focus their study priorities.

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Evangelist for insanely great careers education in Western Australia
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Micro Credentials are the buzz. 5 thoughts to help you manage

1. Packaging

Micro credentials are a way of packaging slices of knowledge. A quick Canva course is not a micro credential. You learn skills but you don’t get a recognised credential.

MOOCS courses

2. Recognition

If you need to have proof that you have learned to the required standard, your proof will need to be recognised by people.

The easiest way to do this is to learn through a big organisation like a university, TAFE college or Registered Training Organisation, an organisation like Microsoft.

I need to be sure of what I am buying before I pay for a micro credential from someone I don’t know.

3. Records

I lose stuff.

We need the provider of the micro credential to keep a record of our learning so that we can get it from them if we need it.

4. Motivation

Your motivation to do a micro credential may be an employer requiring you to learn a new system or it may be a requirement of a job you want to move into. Many people aren’t motivated enough to finish their micro credentials because the motivation isn’t great enough.

Maybe they want skills or fun, not a qualification.

5. Logistics

If your employer will benefit from you learning a new skill, you may be able to do part or all of the course in work time. The cost of doing the course could also be negotiated with your employer.


Micro credentials aren’t new, although the name may not be familiar. For years, people have learned how to become a barista, get a Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate or learn work’s new document management system.

The number and variety of courses becoming available is growing.

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In Focus Careers News – June Issue Out Now

I have just published the June 2021 Issue.

The Top 5 issues for Students and Families this month are:

The Top 5 issues for Career Professionals this month are:

Subscribe to the Infocus Careers News for West Australian schools

Evangelist for insanely great careers education in Western Australia

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Australia’s biggest export is it’s topsoil. Aboriginal agriculture deliver solutions to Australian soil damage.

 Australia’s biggest export is it’s topsoil.

Michael Clinch Murchison Regenerative agriculturalist and cattleman

Yallalong station
ABC Murchison Flood photo

Aboriginal agricultural strategies are gaining traction.

Bruce Pascoe produced evidence of how the land was 200 years ago. His book Dark Emu has shown us the shocking damage we have done since we brought European farming methods to this land.

His revolutionary and stubborn determination to demonstrate his strategies on his small farm are frequently aired on ABC radio.

Apparently agriculture students are volunteering to work on his farm to learn from him. 


Central Regional TAFE has started teaching Regenerative Agriculture in Geraldton. 

Curtin University has appointed Australia’s first Indigenous Chair for Biodiversity and Environmental Science.

Dr Stephen van Leeuwen
Dr Stephen van Leeuwen

Charles Sturt University has also recognised the need to start learning and using Aboriginal agricultural knowledge. Read more about its work HERE.

In Western Australia the Food Fibre and Timber Industry Training Council represents the agricultural industry trends and delivers strategic advice to government. If you would like to discuss regenerative agriculture training in Western Australia you can contact them HERE.

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Year 12 What Next? GAP Year Ideas and Tips for 2022

Taking the Other Way

When you leave Year 12 there are 3 main paths that you can take:

  1. University
  2. TAFE
  3. Other

The Other Way

Taking The Other Way from school takes courage. Your friends will try to get you to follow them. They want you with them. By taking another way you may be challenging them to think twice about the path they are taking.

You parents will worry about you. It’s good to be able to tell them that you have a plan.

Finding what you are interested in is driving your plan. Taking a gap year provides opportunities to meet people, explore who you are, do different things and find what works for you.

A Gap Year is a Year of Discovery

Gap Year in Defence

The Defence Gap Year has a whole lot of advantages.

You get paid. You can save for a car, or travel. You can afford to go out and to buy cool clothes. You may learn about how to manage money. You will learn and about award rates of pay, overtime, sick leave and holiday pay.

You meet lots of new people from different places and find out about their lives. You will probably make friends for life with people you meet at this time.

You get to leave home without having to pay for rent, electricity and food.

You learn new skills. Trying lots of different roles and learning new skills will help you to decide what you like and don’t like, without spending time and money at uni or TAFE.

You find out about life in the army, navy or air force.

You can check out Defence Force Gap Years HERE.


LetzLive has opened up its Gap Year opportunities as a gap year assistant working in a boarding school in New Zealand.

Check out the programs provided by LetzLive.

Harvest Trail

The horticulture industry has relied on people from overseas to pick their fruit and vegies. It turns out the pay and conditions were shocking and Australians initially refused to take up the jobs. Things are getting better so check out the opportunities to travel Australia and become harvest trail nomads.

You can find Harvest Trail jobs HERE.

You can apply for Relocation Assistance HERE. Be careful, I heard it takes ages to come through.

Hospitality and Tourism

The boom in tourism within Australia is being slowed by the shortage of workers in resorts, coffee shops, motels, road houses and caravan parks.

Sandfire Roadhouse

Look for these jobs on sites like Seek or phone/email the local tourist bureau and ask where to find a job in the area.

If you are 18 you can earn more money serving alcohol than cleaning. You will need your Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate to be able to work serving alcohol.

If you can find a job in a resort or motel chain, take that, it is more likely to pay sick leave, holiday pay and superannuation. Wherever you get a job, make sure your pay and conditions are legit. Ring or email the Fair Work Ombudsman if you need to check.

Work on a Station

Can’t ride a motor bike or muster cattle?

Profile photo of Michael Clinch
Michael Clinch cattleman and conservationist

Ellenbrae Station, halfway between Derby and Kununurra, sells thousands of scones to tourists who travel up the Gibb River Road every year.

Ellenbrae Station Scones

All of the stations supplement their incomes through tourism.

If you can clean you can probably find a job supporting the station tourism industry. Look for jobs on sites like Seek.

Need Experience?

Once you leave school it is tricky getting work experience as employers aren’t insured to cover unpaid volunteers.

In Western Australia you can apply for volunteer work through Volunteering WA. People put in requests for volunteers to them and they place people and cover them through the Volunteering WA insurance.

The Volunteering WA people said that when you first start with them they are careful of the sort of work they let you do until you have proven yourself.

Free Tips

Check out Youth Central. It’s a Victorian Government site that has some good tips on taking a gap year.

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Evangelist for insanely great careers education in Western Australia
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University resources for career teachers in Western Australia

With so much competition for school leavers, teachers have plenty of opportunities to engage with universities.

All West Australian universities provide one on one career interviews. Everyone should talk to a career advisor at their chosen university before they enrol.

All universities also do campus tours and special information evenings. You can find an updated calendar of events in the In Focus Careers Newsletter.

Schools can invite career counsellors to give presentations at schools or attend school expos.

Murdoch workshops for high schools

Murdoch Outreach have been working hard to develop an online offer to help support teachers and school communities. Explore our wide range of online workshops and our inspiring podcast series.

Explore our online workshops

Your high school students can participate in our Outreach workshops, but online! Get them to explore the curriculum, build new skills and develop a deeper understanding of subjects through our series of free online STEM, HASS and Creative Arts and Communication workshops, which can be booked by teachers for a whole class.

female science student inspecting glass beakers

STEM workshops

In our STEM workshops, students will develop their critical thinking and teamwork skills through using their imagination to solve challenges, crack codes, write algorithms, explore probability and design and build machines.

Find out more

Murdoch student Alice chatting with friends

HASS workshops

What is criminology? Can we lower our carbon footprint? How do businesses work and what do marketers do? Get your students to explore all these questions and more while working with their classmates in our HASS workshops.

Find out more

two male students broadcasting in a radio studio

Creative Arts and Communication workshops

In our Creative Arts and Communication workshops your students will explore digital painting, pixel art, portfolio design, personal branding, design thinking and ideation, the principles of graphic design and much more.

Find out more

Explore our Murdoch Minds podcast series

Join us for our Murdoch Minds podcast series where you will hear from our free thinking academics as we explore their career paths, current research projects and more.

Find out more

Curtin Support for schools

Two male students walking through a crowded area holding up help signs

Curtin AHEAD in School

Curtin AHEAD is a dynamic outreach program, fostering the potential of individuals and groups underrepresented in higher education. We work with high schools to raise aspirations and build learning skills, delivering workshops, on-campus experiences, mentoring programs and career-developing activities.

EcoChallenge Australia

EcoChallenge Australia provides an exciting and authentic learning experience for students in Years 5-12 through the online strategic game, Aqua Republica, to explore issues and solutions relating to water management and sustainable development. EcoChallenge Australia incorporates a sustained engagement with the principles of water usage across industrial, urban and agricultural systems and the impact upon ecosystems.

Innovative Schools Consortium

Through a partnership with Curtin, secondary schools can help their high achievers fulfil their true potential. Identified students participate in programs that build their skills and strengths in innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. They receive a record of their achievements that can be used towards meeting university admission criteria, gaining accelerated entry into Curtin or supporting their scholarship applications. Download the Innovative Schools Consortium flyer – [.pdf 270kB]

Learning Futures Network

Comprising more than 140 schools, industry and community organisations, the Learning Futures Network is focused on driving transformation across student learning and the future of work, while building deep learning relationships across communities.

The network provides an avenue for schools to collaborate with Curtin, and learn more about higher education, alternative entry pathways, and professional learning and postgraduate opportunities for teachers. Join the Learning Futures Network.

Professional Learning Hub

Curtin’s commitment to teaching and teachers continues after graduation. Our Professional Learning Hub enables our alumni to remain inspired, informed and current in their classrooms. Our innovative, practical and research-based workshops contribute to teacher PD hours, building better educational outcomes for the community through greater job satisfaction.

Curtin’s School of Education also offers networking sessions and presentations for teaching professionals.

Benefit from the Professional Learning Hub.

STEM Outreach

STEM Outreach offers engaging and innovative programs that connect your school and community to STEM and Curtin research. We deliver programs, workshops, camps, excursions, incursions and competitions for students and teachers across metropolitan and regional Western Australia. See all the ways your school can get involved with STEM Outreach.

UniReady in Schools

The UniReady Enabling Program is one of Curtin’s alternative entry pathway programs. It has been approved as an endorsed program for high schools in Western Australia and can be run as part of the high school curriculum. It not only makes up a high school student’s WACE but, if completed successfully, also means the student is eligible to apply for a range of Curtin undergraduate courses.

Presently the course is offered as part of a pilot with a limited number of places. If your school is interested in the program, you will need to make an application to UniReady and pay a program licence.

Contact or call +61 8 9266 7632 for more information.


Through the AIME Mentoring program, Curtin students are empowering Indigenous high school students, giving them the skills and confidence to grow and succeed. Read more about AIME

High school resources

This dedicated page provides resources to all the key questions we receive from high school students around admission pathways, study areas, scholarships, how to apply and understanding prerequisites. This will be a key resource for you to distribute to students with everything they need in one place. Visit the high school resources page

UWA Career advisers and teachers

Here you can access resources, request school visits or on-campus experiences, and keep up to date with the latest information to help your students find their path to UWA.  You can find the information HERE.

Career adviser in discussion with a staff member and a student

School Engagement team

The School Engagement team supports students in Years 10–12 to make informed decisions about their future study options. Our team can advise on UWA courses, opportunities, scholarships, accommodation options, admissions pathways and more.

Please contact us directly for further information and to book:

  • presentations at your school
  • campus tours
  • attendance at careers expos, fairs and information events

You can also sign up to receive our regular e-newsletter, which covers opportunities, events and activities for your school, as well as the latest information on UWA courses and admissions. Contact the School Engagement team on

Notre Dame For Career Advisors

Careers Advisor hold the key to guiding students to their future opportunities.

To best direct students’ potential towards education and career choices that will enrich their lives, you need to know the facts.

We’ve gathered everything you need to know here to support you in your vital role.

If you have any questions please get in touch.



Exploring opportunities outside school should not be a huge burden for teachers. These resources are designed to support teachers and students. If you are looking for something different for your school, contact your local university and request the help you need.

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Career and Life Exploration for Middle School Students

Many butterflies

Middle School: Time to Explore

Life can start to slow down in Middle School. You learned the basics in Primary School. In Middle School you are old enough to start exploring more broadly.

These opportunities are designed for Middle School Students.

Middle School Opportunities Mind Map

Duke of Edinburgh

Duke of Edinburgh
Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Discover Your Potential

Age: 14 – 24 There are 4 sections:

1.      Adventurous Journey

2.      Physical Recreation

3.       SkillsVoluntary Service

4.       Gold Residential Project



Coding for Fun

Ages 7 – 17

Run by volunteers in libraries, unis and community centres. Young people and volunteers get together to learn to play with coding.

WAAPA Short Courses


Age 6 – 18

Acting, music and dance short courses are run on weekends and holidays.  There are classes for young kids through to those who already have some experience.

Australian Youth Mentoring Network

Youth Mentoring

Get a mentor. Their support can change your life. There are often more mentors offering services than students wanting to engage.

Local Government Youth Programs

Government Youth Programs

Every local government council has youth programs. Check out your local government to see what it has on offer.



Age: 12 – 19

Fun with Robots

Teams make and program robots and compete in different challenges. This is big in WA and the kids seem to have a great time.

Santos Science Experience

Age: 13 – 15

The Santos Science Experience is a fun 3 or 4 days of science activities for Year 9 and 10 students.

Book coverFind all the career information you need in one place

Subscribe to In Focus Careers monthly newsletter for West Australians

Join now: 

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Careers WA – Essential Career Information for West Australians: May 2021 Issue

Careers WA delivers the latest career information for West Australian adults.

 The May 2021 Issue includes information about:

Get the May Issue of Careers WA:

Catch up on the April News. It includes information about:

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ANZAC Day Story of my Mum

Mum’s career in the Signals during WWII was written and read out at the John Forrest High School ANZAC Day ceremony by my daughter Rebecca de Beer.

Anzac Day is a time that we reflect on the contributions of Australian and New Zealand Service people who have contributed in times of war. It is a time to think about their stories, and remember that they were ordinary people, following the requests of governments to do extraordinary things.

Today I would like to tell you the story of Hilda Sly, who was born in 1922 and joined the Australian Women’s Army Service in World War 2. Hilda grew up, living in tents during the Great Depression as her family struggled to make ends meet during the worst economic downturn Australia had ever experienced. She left school at 14 and worked in various jobs to help support her family.

In November 1941, the reality of war became apparent to Hilda when the ship, HMAS Sydney was sunk off the coast of Western Australia, after a battle with the German cruiser Kormoran, which also sank. All 645 crewman on board the Australian vessel died. This loss of life inspired Hilda to consider enlistment.  Initially, she applied to join the Airforce but she was told they were not recruiting women at that stage.  However, on June 12, 1942 the government published a statement in the West Australian stating that 1,000 recruits for the Australian Women’s Army Service Signal Corps had been selected for training after undergoing rigid adaptability tasks. It also called for more recruits from Western Australia to undertake duties in the areas of wireless telegraphists, line operators, signal clerks, teleprinter operators, cipher personnel and switchboard operators. These were the key communications tools used during WW2, long before instant messages and mobile phones.

Hilda made an application to join the AWAS. She thought she would be trained to undertake a trade, study mechanics, learn to drive or work in a kitchen.  She did a maths test, had a medical and went to ‘school’ for 2 months of training. However, she then got a telegram inviting her to go for an interview and join the Signals Corps in Melbourne.  She had no idea that she would be de-coding secret messages within a Special Unit of the Signallers Corps.

Hilda Sly was formally enlisted on July 31, 1942. After a short training period in Brisbane, Hilda’s unit were each given a steel helmet, a gas mask, a water bottle and a pistol – nobody understood why that had been given a gun, none of them had handled a gun or had any training with firearms.

Hilda in Townsville with tin hat, gas mask, bottle of water and a pistol

Hilda did shift work behind closed doors, all the time deciphering a wide variety of messages.  The messages were sets of numbers on sheets of paper and they were deciphered by using only a set of books containing the number systems for deciphering codes. Messages they deciphered ranged from receiving and passing on requests for stores, especially fuel and food, instructions regarding wounded servicemen and other troop movements including those of the US servicemen. They were required to sign a sworn secrecy statement, and advised not to take shortcuts by trying to guess the meaning of a message or memorise the codes as that would make them vulnerable if they were captured by the enemy.

Hilda at Adelaide River

Hilda went to work in Townsville in 1942 while Australian troops fought against the Japanese in Kokoda, New Guinea. During this period ‘hundreds of thousands of US military personnel’ passed through Brisbane as it was the headquarters of US General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in the South Pacific.

A most traumatic occurrence for Hilda during her time at Townsville was the forced removal of all her teeth. She had all her teeth removed while sitting up in a chair with only a local anaesthetic. She didn’t have any problems with tooth-ache or gum disease, but was informed that it was to prevent problems in the future, and she was issued with false teeth at 20 years old.

This barbaric and unnecessary procedure was the result of policy developed by the Army because of difficulties experienced by troops during WWI. Men serving in the trenches of the Western Front suffered extreme ‘ulcerative gingivitis’ and could not eat, let alone fight! Dental treatment was considered essential for Army recruits in order to avoid dental health problems arising while they were serving in remote areas or overseas and a separate Australian Army Dental Corps was established in 1943. However, it seems unlikely that all men sent overseas had all their teeth removed ‘just in case’.  

Deciphering code from behind the locked door

The Signal Office where Hilda worked was situated in a disused Bank of NSW uncomfortably close to the wharf.  The cipher office was situated on the top floor and Hilda found it hard to understand why they were situated in such a vulnerable position. Whenever there was an air raid alert all of the equipment was carried in a tin trunk, down the back stairs to the cellar. It was easier carrying it down than carrying it all back after the “All Clear”.

Incidents which resulted in important news coming through the Cipher Unit included reports on the conditions facing Prisoners of War, the Sandakan March, and the training of the Z Force. They were extremely busy during the ‘Battle for the Bismarck Sea’.  This battle took place early in March 1943 in the South West Pacific when aircraft of the U.S. Fifth Air Force and the RAF attacked a Japanese convoy transporting troops to Lae in Papua New Guinea.

All the members of the Cipher Unit had been promoted to Corporal at the end of the training in Melbourne, and were promoted to Sergeant while in Townsville, without having to attend Non-commissioned officer school or take an examination.  Although they received basic training in Melbourne, they learnt more on the job in Brisbane and Townsville. A highlight of their social life was that when they had free time they attended dances at Magnetic Island. On one occasion Hilda recalled dancing with an Aboriginal boy she had known in Kalgoorlie. She said he had been too shy to dance with her at home but on Magnetic Island they danced so well together that the floor cleared and everyone stood around to watch them!

In 1943, Hilda was given leave from Townsville and went home via Brisbane. Before going onto Kalgoorlie, Hilda stopped off in Northam to visit family. While waiting for the train to continue her journey a day or two later, she found herself mingling with a large group of soldiers when one who was nearby looked up at her and said ‘Hello Sergeant!’. She replied, ‘How are you doing Private?’. This man eventually became her husband and he later told her that he had said to his mate, ‘I am going to follow up with that girl’. His mate replied, ‘Oh no, you can’t do that, she’s a Sergeant’.  But Wally Johnson was determined and he made contact later and he and Hilda kept in touch throughout the war, although they had very little opportunity to spend time together until after the War.

Hilda outside Chip Inn mess hall Adelaide River

After spending some time working in Darwin, Hilda was re-assigned to duties at the Swan Barracks in Francis Street, Perth.  On the morning of August 6, 1945 when she got to work a 300 word message had arrived in two parts to ensure its security.  It was the ‘Peace Message’ declaring that the Japanese had signed an agreement to surrender.  As she was the Sergeant in charge, and the only person on duty at the time she decoded the messages. By the time she went off duty in the evening the news had been officially released and people were dancing in the streets.  She later wrote:

As I was the only person on duty I decoded both. As I went home about 1600 there was much excitement in the streets and young ones were jitter bugging in the foyer of the Piccadilly Theatre to the tune of “I danced with a dolly with a hole in her stocking”.  … I felt relief that our troops would be coming home and did not realise that POWs were still to be tortured and murdered. Although I had heard rumours they were nothing like the reality.

A total of 24,082 women served in the Australian Women’s Army Service, 41 died on active service but none of these deaths were due to enemy action. The women’s pay and allowances were set at approximately 68% of those paid to the men. Hilda has said that working as an AWAS Signal girl provided her with the best years of her life. She felt intellectually stimulated, productive and appreciated. She also had the companionship of like-minded women who worked together in sociable teams. Hilda has been an inspiration to her family, her great grandson recently wrote about her for a school project for International Women’s Day about a Woman who inspires him. She has provided me with a lot of stories to tell my History classes, she is my Grandma, and she would have loved to have been here today to commemorate this occasion, unfortunately she is in hospital at the moment, but at 98 years old she is still happy to tell me stories of her time in the army and give me insight into how much things have changed in her lifetime. My life has certainly been enriched from having such a strong woman as a role model in my life.

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Scholarships not for you? Think again! The World wants you to succeed.

Think scholarships are not for you?

The world wants YOU to succeed, not just academic super stars. There is probably a scholarship sitting on the table right now, waiting for you to find it.

Are you poor? LGBTIQ? Come from a defence family? Female interested in painting and decorating?

Start looking for scholarships now.

There are so many. There are scholarships for agriculture, local government scholarships and scholarships for regional, migrants and Aboriginal students.

Don’t study poor!

Empty pockets

Finding scholarships is a skill. Once you have that skill you can save yourself hundreds of hours working in a coffee shop or at Coles!!

STEP 1: Finding ScholarshipS

Knowing how to find them is something you can learn.

Start by looking here:

  • See the Good Universities Guide Scholarships HERE
  • Look for scholarships in your town or suburb – Scholarships Geraldton (or the name of your town).
  • Look for scholarships in your industry. A quick look for jewellery scholarships revealed this. Look for scholarships agriculture, or scholarships marketing. Name your industry of choice.
  • Contact your future university/TAFE college.

You can get more than one scholarship and you can get them throughout your study and work career.

STEP 2: Learn how to apply

Getting a scholarship is a skill. Learn how to develop good applications. They may include providing a sample of your work or an audition.

Audition for scholarship

Scholarship Application Tips

The World wants you to succeed

Scholarships are there to help you to succeed.

You. Not just the academic super stars. Don’t expect someone with a bag of money to knock on your door. You need to go out and find opportunities that will help you to do what you hope for.

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