Balancing Learning And Yearning

Department of Defence

In the quiet Torres Strait shadows, where the sun paints stories on coral reefs, Leading Seaman Edmund Tomsana found himself torn between a love of his ancestral home and mysterious attraction of city life.

Born on the island of Moa, north of Thursday Island, Leading Seaman Tomsana moved to Townsville to finish high school.

After finishing school, he moved even further from home and joined the Royal Australian Navy as a boatswain’s mate. Now, after 10 years away from his island home, Leading Seaman Tomsana said his desire to return has become greater than ever.

“I discovered that home isn’t just a place, but the heart of family and community,” he said.

“I miss those days when our family ventured into Moa’s bush for hunting, fishing and swimming in its tranquil creek.”

Leading Seaman Tomsana is posted to HMAS Choules, which was recently operating off the coast of Townsville in support of Army Chinook helicopter training.

He spends most of his days supervising seamanship activities and keeping watch on the bridge at night, but his thoughts often drift to his family back home.

Leading Seaman Tomsana said although he has learned so much, missing loved ones can be the tough part.

“During my sea service I could not attend a lot of events like family celebrations, weddings, birthdays and funerals,” he said.

“But, when I see my family proud of what I do, I get overwhelmed.”

However, Leading Seaman Tomsana often gets the opportunity to call home when out at sea.

“I always try to communicate with my family; I call them, talk to them,” he said.

With one month until his 10 years’ service, he eagerly counts down the days until he can take his three-month long service leave and return home to the Torres Strait Islands.

“Family is everything. I want to reconnect with my roots, engage in bush hunting with my siblings, and join in crayfishing swims with my Dad, just like the old times,” Leading Seaman Tomsana said.

Leave is not just a break, it is an opportunity to give back, and to share the experiences and knowledge gained during his naval service.

“Through the sacrifice of being away, I have learned independence, and I want to share that experience with my community,” Leading Seaman Tomsana said.

“Parents can guide you, but true independence comes from venturing beyond your comfort zone, and I can thank Navy for teaching me that.

“Everything comes with sacrifice, and only by stepping out of your comfort zone can you truly discover yourself.”

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