DCO Nowra eNews: July – October 2019

South Coast NanniesMediaDCO Nowra eNews: July – October 2019

DCO Nowra News  

Welcome to the Defence Community Organisation (DCO) Nowra eNews!

There are some fun events coming up in the next few months, here are a few to keep your eye out for.


Walk and Talk – Join Defence Community Organisation Nowra for a discovery walk around Nowra CBD. ADF partners and families, particularly those new to the area, are invited to join us for a walk around Nowra CBD to discover some of the area’s icons and services. Take the opportunity to connect with other families while experiencing what your local area has to offer. First coffee on us. Walks are held the third Monday of each month (Except December) starting at 10am at:

July 22nd Shoalhaven Womens Health Centre 5 McGrath Avenue Nowra, August 19th Art trail starting at the rear of Shoalhaven Library in the car park, September 16th and October 21st meet at DCO Nowra, destination to be confirmed.

Register through DCO Shoalhaven Eventbrite at: https://www.eventbrite.com.au

For more information contact 02 4421 3855. 

Do you want to learn more about absence from home and reunion?


The FamilySMART program is a great opportunity for ADF families to meet and talk about their experiences with absences and mobility. The program helps partners of ADF members identify and learn techniques to build on strengths and resilience. The workshop targets relocation, partner absence from home and re-union.

Date: 30 August 2019

Time: 10am 1pm Light lunch included.

Location: DCO Nowra Suite 2, Level 2, 55 57 Berry St, Nowra

Please call 02 4421 3855 or email: dco.canberra-nowra@defence.gov.au to register your interest. 

Tyler Turtle Program

The Tyler Turtle is a one-off session that uses the story of Tyler Turtle to help children identify worries. It uses group work and art to provide some simple strategies for children to manage their feelings when they are worried or sad.

The program is facilitated by the local Family Liaison Officer through the local schools with Defence School Mentors.

For more information contact 02 4421 3855. 

TAFE Transition to Work Course

DCO Nowra and TAFE are working together to offer a Pathways to Employment course that includes help with resume and application writing, as well as finding and getting that illusive job.

This course will include a range of essential computer operations and employability skills focusing on future training and employment opportunities.

There will be opportunity to pathway into Certificate level courses.

It is for 3 hours per week over 4 weeks in August /September and will be FREE to you.

If you are interested, please email: dco.canberra-nowra@defence.gov.au of your preferred day / time / location, whether you need childcare and if you might also be interested in further training options through TAFE. 

Dog Day Out

ADF members and families are invited to join us for a furry fun event. Bring your fur baby and enjoy the company of other dog lovers while your furry mate socialises and investigates the track.  A free coffee and treats for the dog will be available.  Members, partners and family attend with their dogs at their own risk.  In case of severe weather, this event will be cancelled.

Date: 22nd September 2019

Time: 3pm

Location: Callala Beach Community Hall carpark Centre street Callala Beach.

Please call 02 4421 3855 or email: dco.canberra-nowra@defence.gov.au to register your interest. 

Transition Seminar Nowra 26 November 2019

Come to an ADF Transition Seminar to help you and your family prepare for your transition into civilian life. You and your family are welcome to attend at any time during your ADF career. Seminars are held nationally throughout the year. Youll receive information on topics like:

  • transition support and administration
  • future employment
  • finance and superannuation
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • veteran and family support services
  • Reserves.

If you would like to attend a seminar, submit an approved webform AC853-4 to your local ADF Transition Centre.

For enquiries regarding the seminars you can email adf.transition@defence.gov.au 

Shoalhaven Defence News


Kookaburra Retreat is a community centre, managed by the Shoalhaven Defence Families Association (SDFA). The association is a not-for-profit organisation providing support to Defence families in the Shoalhaven and surrounding areas.

Kookaburra Retreat aims to be a safe, welcoming place for people to relax and gain connections within the Defence community. There is a strong emphasis on providing support to those facing the challenges associated with the Defence way of life.

Kookaburra Retreat offers a range of programs including weekly get-togethers (with crche facilities), a weekly playgroup and craft and scrap-booking sessions. They organise regular social dinners, ladies nights out, excursions and participate in community fundraising events.


Crche facilities so that those with young children can participate in activities knowing their child is safe and well cared for.
The SDFA employ the South Coast Nannies agency to operate our crche.

The crche is open on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9.30am to 12.30pm.
We keep the cost to members as low as possible. $15 for one child and $20 for two or more.

To book your child/ren into creche, please comment their name/s and age/s on the corresponding post on facebook or email shoalhavendfa@gmail.com


Playgroup is an informal session where mums, dads, grandparents, caregivers, children and babies meet up in a friendly environment. Kookaburra Playgroup runs on Tuesdays in 2019 (during the NSW school terms).

Parents are invited to enjoy a cuppa whilst supervising their children as they explore the indoor and outdoor play spaces. Playgroup is open to all SDFA members (or those looking to join) at a cost of $3 per family per visit.

Kookaburra Retreat is located on Canberra Drive, outside the main entrance of HMAS Albatross. Annual membership is $30. Members have access to the activities held at Kookaburra Retreat.

Hours: 9am2pm

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

Office number: 4421 5766

To find more Playgroups in your area go to: www.playgroupnsw.org.au/

Defence Special Needs Support Group

The Defence Special Needs Support Group Inc. is a national organisation with many local support groups, who provide support, information, assistance and advocacy for all ADF families who have a dependent (child, spouse or other dependent) with special needs. They also organise family events and distribute national and local newsletters.

For more information go to:  www.dsnsg.org.au

or contact:  Coordinator: Nicole Gourley

Phone: 0401 516 799; Email: nowra@dsnsg.org.au

Australian Military Wives Choir

Ever been told you can’t sing but love to sing anyway? Ever thought singing in a choir was all about perfection? Then you need to ignore those comments and thoughts and check out the newly formed Shoalhaven Australian Military Wives Choir. To be a member of our choir you do not need music or choral experience and there’s no audition to join. We welcome women with a connection to a currently serving ADF member and a love of singing. For us it’s all about the rehearsal – singing for our hearts and our voices. We understand the benefits of singing socially and at the same time strengthening connections with other women who understand the Defence lifestyle. And when the time comes to sing for others, there is no pressure to perform. We sing pieces from the 1920’s, wartime tunes, songs from Broadway, contemporary and of course Christmas Carols. The choir is also looking for someone willing to offer their time to accompany us on the piano. At this stage it would only be for our rehearsals so again, no pressure to perform! Please do get in touch if this sounds like you.

Sound like something you’d be interested in? Rehearsals take place every 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursday of the month at the HMAS Albatross FAA Chapel.

Need more information?

Please contact Justine on coordinator.shoalhaven@amwchoir.com

Open Arms

Open Arms Veterans and Families Counselling (formerly VVCS); founded by Australia’s Vietnam Veterans, provides mental health assessments, clinical counselling services and support services for Australian veterans and their families. Open Arms also have group programs in various areas on topics such as: – Relationship and Family Issues, Transitioning to Civilian Life, Anxiety, Alcohol or Substance Misuse, Depression, Parenting, Anger Management, Sleep Difficulties, PTSD and other issues associated with the military life.

For more information go to: https://www.openarms.gov.au

Or call: 1800 011 046

One Tree Childrens Services

One Tree Community Services  have specialist early learning staff who provide support to families who need help finding appropriate childcare. They negotiate with all local registered childcare providers, including family day care and before and after school care, to ensure childcare is tailored to individual family circumstances.

The service provides parents with options that will allow them to decide which childcare service best suits their family. It is available to all ADF families across Australia, and civilian families in some regional locations.

The placement assistance service is free. Normal childcare fees will apply for any options selected by families.

To discuss your familys needs, call the all-hours Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608 or email defencefamilyhelpline@defence.gov.au. 

Community News

There is always something happening in the Shoalhaven and Illawarra with many places to discover.

Whats On / Tourism 

 The Shoalhaven has many opportunities to explore including; classes, exhibitions and shows, festivals, markets and sporting events. To find out about events and activities in the Shoalhaven go to the NSW Government Shoalhaven Tourism Website at: https://www.shoalhaven.com/events

Further options include:




Ideas for kids and families

Parents Guide Illawarra provides online information regarding local services (Local Directory) and events (What’s On) relevant to parents of babies, toddlers, and school aged children right up to tweens and teens in the Illawarra.

Parents can subscribe to their Parents e-Newsletter (CLICK HERE) and stay up to date with family friendly news, adventures and places to explore and visit and follow them on their Facebook Page HERE.   

Shoalhaven Local Services

For community services information, local sporting and interest clubs, activities, events and guides for Shoalhaven, see the Shoalhaven City Council – ‘About My Community’/Community Directory.

Want to volunteer?

If you have a few extra hours to spare and would like to meet new people in the area, volunteering is a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and get to know your local area. There are many volunteering opportunities available in the Shoalhaven/Illawarra region. For more information follow the link to the Volunteering in the Shoalhaven, from Councils website.


(Please note it is dated 2015 so some of the numbers may be out of date).

Another option would be to search volunteer positions at https://govolunteer.com.au and type in the area you are looking for.

Alternatively, type in any of the job search engines or call the FLO at DCO Nowra on 02 4421 3855.

The Defence Family Helpline – 1800 624 608

The Defence Family Helpline is your first point of call for support, information and connection with your community, including your local DCO team. The Helpline is available 24-7 and is staffed by qualified human services professionals including social workers and psychologists.

You can also email the Helpline on DefenceFamilyHelpline@defence.gov.au and receive a response within 24 hours.