Located off eastern Arnhem Land in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Groote Eylandt is home to one of the Department of Human Services’ newest Remote Service Centres.
Since opening its doors in December 2017, the new office has made it easier for the community of about 3000 people to access the department’s payments and services.
The custom-built service centre had quite a journey – first overland from Adelaide and then by barge from Darwin. Getting a state-of-the-art facility to the Groote Eylandt community is part of our ongoing commitment to provide better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, wherever they live.
Service Centre Manager, Tracy Croydon has been on Groote Eylandt for almost 3 years. Tracy has also lived and worked in other remote communities during her 22 year career with the department.
“It can be hard working in such a remote place,” Tracy said. “At Angurugu you come to work and the phones will be out, the mobile will be out or the power is out but you get used to it.
“You stop taking small things for granted like going to the cinema or to shopping centres. I still like going to Darwin now and then, but I love living on the island.
“I also really loved Wadeye. The people there were really good. The women have such a strong community, they had a women’s centre and they were making art.”
NAIDOC Week is from 8-15 July and this year’s theme is ‘Because of her, we can’. For Tracy the theme is embodied by her mother who was the second oldest of 13 children.
“My mum is an inspiration to me,” Tracy said.
“She left school early to help raise my aunties and uncles. She then met and married my dad and worked two jobs while raising her four kids.”
Tracy explained that once she and her siblings were older her mother went back to study, and has dedicated herself to helping people in need.
“She became a domestic violence counsellor and a drug and alcohol counsellor,” she said. “She’s always encouraged me, and when I was deciding if I wanted to move out here, she was the first person I asked.”
Watch the journey to get the Groote Eylandt Service Centre up and running.
Watch the full journey of the Groote Eylandt Service Centre.