Precious moments punctuate important role
If previous years are anything to go by, it’ll be cuddles, breakfast and presents this Father’s Day for Corporal Justin Starrenburg, but he’ll tell you every weekend is special because that’s when he gets to spend time with his family.
Monday to Friday, Corporal Starrenburg works away at the Delamere air training area, 200km from his Tindal home and partner Amanda and their children; Xavier, 2, and Kadence, 1.
“It’s brutal at this age being away from them but I’m lucky with my partner. Amanda is amazing and very good at managing when I’m not there,” Corporal Starrenburg said.
“The best time I have is when I go home and hang out with the kids. It’s what I look forward to all week.”
Originally from Melbourne, Corporal Starrenburg is almost 10 years into his Air Force career with a role not for the faint-hearted; the handling and disposing of explosives.
“I really enjoy the role. Being around explosives certainly makes you think on your feet,” he said.
“After all the training we get, what we do isn’t really that dangerous.”
The Delamere range has a big footprint with a small group to run it.
A team of eight along with a few contractors look after 2100 square kilometres surrounded by cattle stations in a remote part of the Northern Territory.
This is year one of a three-year posting during which Corporal Starrenburg lives a FIFO life to fulfil a vital role for Air Force.
It may only be a short 30-minute flight from home but it’s a commute that keeps evenings full, staying in touch with his young family and looking forward to the return trip.
“I love being a dad. Nothing really prepares you for it and I didn’t know what to expect, but watching my kids grow is unbelievable,” Corporal Starrenburg said.
Time at home with Amanda and the kids is taken up with the great outdoors – exploring the top end with some nights under canvas.
Subtle hints have been dropped for camping presents this Father’s Day but nothing can really improve on quality time the day delivers with Xavier and Kadence or last year’s coffee mug decorated with family photos.