Gallipoli Art Prize 2023e 3
FINALIST with 'Northern Watch'
A military landing craft has just departed having dropped a unit off to a designated area on the beach as night begins to fall. A couple of soldiers can just be seen, already camouflaged by their surrounds with rubber dinghies called Zodiacs, ready for patrol when they break camp the following morning.
The North West Mobile Force, otherwise known as Norforce is based in Darwin and its operations cover an area of about 1.8 million square kilometres and includes the Northern Territory and Kimberley Region of Western Australia. Indigenous soldiers form up to 60 percent of the Norforce personnel and are an invaluable asset to the patrolling of such as vast area of country with their local knowledge of the land and its community. The remoteness of such reconnaissance’s means resupply is not an option, hence shared Aboriginal knowledge in the hunting of natural food resources is crucial to their survival to supplement their ration packs. The unit also faces the dangers of saltwater crocs, deadly snakes, jellyfish and sharks.
Their watchlist include drug smugglers as well as any foreign incursions by land, sea or air with the primary role being the reconnaissance, observation and the collection of military intelligence. Due to soring daytime temperatures and the need to remain unobserved, the unit often moves at night on foot or in specially modified land vehicles or in military rubber dinghies when patrolling the sea or inland mangroves.