Corben Mudjandi is a high achieving 17 year old who lives in a small out station 20 minutes drive from Jabiru in the Northern Territory’s Kakadu National Park.
In August Mudjandi was one of five Army Cadets to travel to France with the Australian Defence Force Cadets Contingent to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Amiens.
Mudjandi’s grandfather served in the Norforce (North-West Mobile Force) in 1967, which may contribute to his interest in war history.
‘Ever since I was eight years old I was interested in history, like the Great War and I always wanted to travel somewhere around the world,’ says Mudjandi.
‘So when I heard that the army was picking five cadets to go to France to see where the Battle of Amiens happened I had to try to get there.’
‘Fortunately for me, some officers visited my unit in army cadets and I started a conversation with one of the officers who was interested in hearing about what I do for a living and my knowledge of history.’
‘A year later, when cadets were being nominated for the trip to France, that officer put in a good word for me and I was picked,’ Mudjandi says.
Residing at Djidbidjidbi College during the week, Mudjandi attends Jabiru Area School and goes home on weekends to be with family.
His family are the traditional owners of Mirarr country, where the small mining town of Jabiru is situated.
‘When I told my family I was going to France, the only thing they said is, we’ll be praying for you when you go,’ says Mudjandi.
‘The experience was amazing for an Aboriginal kid that’s never left his state and his land before.’
‘Experiencing a culture that was so different to my own, as well as the history of France from the medieval to the Victorian age and then the industrial revolution is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.’
Recently promoted to Corporal, Mudjandi won Jabiru’s Young Citizen of the Year award in 2016 and worked with Member for Arafura, Francis Xavier Kurrupuwuin 2015.
Mudjandi recently completed his year 12 studies and will officially graduate at the end of the year.
‘I really strive to be a positive role model to others in my community,’ says Mudjandi.
‘It makes me feel like I’m doing something positive in my life.’
‘I want to travel around the world next, then join the army and after that I may want to become a politician to help my local government improve on things around the Northern Territory.’