Thousands of miles from home, Postal Manager Kylie feels more connected than ever
When Kylie took a role as Postal Manager in Tennant Creek, she was looking for a new adventure. She now has a new home and feels part of the community.
Video: A dark-haired woman strides through an outback landscape, towards large orange boulders. Her flowing top has an brown and white print in an elaborate Aboriginal design. A willie wagtail follows her along the red dirt track. She tilts her face to the sunlight and smiles. She reaches the boulders.
Audio: Woman: My sense of adventure was formed at a fairly young age. I've always just really appreciated the opportunity to learn more and this is just another example of me wanting to discover how life works for other Australians, 'cause, out here, everything is different.
Video: The title 'Journeys' forms across aerial footage of an outback town. The Australia post logo appears underneath. Now wearing a red Australia Post shirt, the brunette stands outside a post office. Text: "Kylie Smith." The Australia Post logo appears in the top right corner. Kylie is interviewed inside, in front of an array of large sorting bags. Labels above the bags include 'Katherine' and 'Darwin'.
Audio: Kylie: I'm Kylie Smith. I am a Gamilaraay/Gomeroi woman. I'm the personal manager at the Tennant Creek Post Office in Northern Territory. This job came up and I saw it on the Mob@Post Facebook page and it intrigued me because I thought, "Oh, Tennant Creek." You know, I always actually wanted to come over and experience Central Australia.
Video: An information plaque on a wall is titled 'Tennant Creek Post Office'. Locals head into the post office. Kylie works at the counter and moves a pile of boxes. A long road train drives along an outback road.
Audio: Kylie: The AusPost here is the heartbeat of what keeps this place connected to the rest of the world. We don't have a delivery route. We are the delivery route. Any real shopping that needs to be done - furniture, clothes, homewares, Coles, Woolies - that's all a 10-hour round trip. Yeah, pretty remote.
Video: Mail bags and boxes are piled near a small plane. A pilot starts loading them in the back. The plane flies up into the clear blue sky.
Audio: Kylie: The mail bags that go out by plane to communities and stations and families that are so remote that we are providing them their medication, we're providing them fresh groceries. These people would be absolutely stuck if we didn't have this service going.
Video: In the post office, Kylie does paperwork and sorts mail. Slender yellow leaves sway in the breeze. Birds flap close to a lake's surface and feed by the shore. As dogs play, Kylie sits by the silvery water. Reflected on the rippling surface, a willie wagtail hovers then pecks something from the water. The tree-lined shore is reflected on the mirror-like lake. Walking through trees, Kylie is silhouetted against the brilliant orange-pink sky.
Audio: Kylie: When I first arrived in Tennant, it was pretty intense. I was just like, "Wow, I am a long way away from everything I know." And when I got taken out to, like, Tingkkarli, and I just saw the beauty of the lake, and I was like, "Oh, hey, this place, it feels familiar." You find that little plateau where all the funky-little-shaped eucalypt trees are, there's willie wagtails by the swagful doing this amazing ballet dance and if you're not watching the bird, you're watching the reflection. Oranges and yellows and there's apricots. It's like every sunrise you ever want to see and it's like that every single day.
Video: Kylie works behind the post office counter. Customers of a variety of ages and backgrounds bring in mail and documents.
Audio: Kylie: Hello.
Kylie: Being in the post office and being exposed to all facets of the community is what gives me the opportunity to learn. There's no isolation when it comes to community here. We've got people who are here on short contracts, people who are here on long contracts, people who were born and raised here, the local Warumungu people and other First Nations people who come in quite regularly. It's a variety of people. I would hope that I've brought something positive into their experience.
Video: Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a colourful scarf, Kylie attends the local show. With a young man, she goes on a ride and chats to a stall holder.
Audio: Kylie: There's been challenges, but I've had the opportunity to learn a completely new way of life and work with a community that's so unique, you're not gonna get it anywhere else. I don't see myself being a seasonal member of this community. I'm building that relationship with the locals so that I can ensure that AusPost is representing the country that we're standing on.
Video: Standing on a hilltop of rugged red rock, Kylie gazes out over a vista of trees under a pale sky. Facing the camera, she stands on the hilltop, at the show and in the post office.
Audio: Kylie: I think I have purpose here. I'm in the right place at the right time for the right reasons.
Voiceover: Just one story from over 70,000 team members. Australia Post. Delivering for Australia.
Video: On a red background, white text reads, "To watch the full 'Journeys' series go to auspost.com.au/watch." The Australia Post logo appears above the words "Delivering for Australia."
From the outback town of Tennant Creek, it’s a long drive to the nearest major centre.
“Any major shopping that needs to be done—furniture, clothes, homewares, Coles or Woolies—that’s all a ten-hour round trip. It’s pretty remote,” says Kylie Smith, the Postal Manager at the Tennant Creek Post Office.
Kylie, a Gamilaraay woman, was already working for Australia Post when she came across the advertisement for the Postal Manager job in our dedicated Indigenous Employee Network. “I saw (this job) on the Mob@Post Facebook page, and it intrigued me,” Kylie says. “I’d always wanted to come over and experience Central Australia.”
And that’s where the adventure began.
How Kylie settled in to a new, remote home
Moving to Tennant Creek was an adventure that Kylie was excited about, but it took a little while to adapt to her new location. “It was pretty intense,” she says. “I was like, ‘Wow, I am a long way away from everything I know!’”
There were two things that helped Kylie to feel at home.
One was the environment she found herself surrounded by. “When I got taken out to Lake Tingkkarli, I saw the beauty of the lake. This place feels familiar,” she says, before describing the beautiful landscape. “You find the plateau where all the funky-shaped eucalypt trees are, and there are willy wagtails … doing this amazing ballet dance and, if you’re not watching the bird, you’re watching their reflection. Oranges and yellows and apricots: it’s like every sunrise you ever want to see, and it’s like that every single day.”
The other aspect of Tennant Creek that has helped Kylie settle into her new home is the people. It’s the community who have proven to her that it’s possible to live in a remote area without being isolated.
“Being exposed to all the facets of the community is what gives me the opportunity to learn. There’s no isolation when it comes to community here,” Kylie says.
“We’ve got people who are here on short contracts, people who are here on long contracts, people who were born and raised here, the local Warumungu people and other First Nations peoples who come in quite regularly.”
Kylie is now right at home in Tennant Creek and says she wouldn’t change a thing. “There’s been challenges, but I’ve had the opportunity to learn a completely new way of life and work with a community that’s so unique, you’re not going to get it anywhere else.”
The people of Australia Post: at the heart of a small community
In such a remote community, delivering mail and packages is an essential part of each day.
Kylie describes the Australia Post Office in Tennant Creek as “the heartbeat that keeps this place connected to the rest of the world.”
She explains, “The mail bags go out by plane to communities, stations and families that are so remote that we are providing them their medication and fresh groceries. These people would be absolutely stuck if we didn’t have this service going.”
It’s a job that fits with Kylie’s sense of adventure and eagerness to keep learning about life in different places.
“Out here, everything is different,” she says. “I’m building that relationship with the locals so that I can ensure that AusPost is representing the Country that we’re standing on.
As for her new home in Tennant Creek, Kylie says she’s here to stay. “I don’t see myself being a seasonable member of this community. I think I have purpose here. I’m in the right place at the right time, for the right reasons.”
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