Office Hours
Monday 9am – 2.30pm
Tuesday 9am – 2.30pm
Thursday 9am – 2.30pm
Friday 9am – 2.30pm

About us


Being a member of the SDFA gives you access to a range of resources including our community house Kookaburra Retreat, where we hold various activities. It also allows you to use the creche at a discounted rate. Membership includes invitations to exclusive ‘member only’ activities, events and functions. The cost to become an SDFA member is an annual fee of $30 – Membership Forms are available under Documents and Forms, payment can be made via EFT or cash at the office.

New members joining after the 1st August will be charged 50% of the annual membership.

Are you new to the area? You are welcome to visit us a couple of times before you are required to become a SDFA member.

Please download the membership form here:

SDFA Membership Form 2023



The SDFA is managed by a voluntary Committee who are voted in at each Annual General Meeting. They are responsible to all members, to do their best at managing the association and all its activities. The four executive committee members are to act in accordance with the constitution and the fair trading agreement. A casual coordinator is employed to aid in the administration of the SDFA.

Executive Committee 
President – 
Vice President – Lisa Knight
Treasurer – Amy Graham
Secretary – Gakotah Tasker

A General Committee Member is any SDFA member who nominates themselves to help with a specific role, eg: Playgroup Facilitator, Activities Officer, Fundraising Officer, Social Media Officer and WHS/First Aid Officer.

All members are invited to attend general meetings held every 6 weeks.

At each AGM all SDFA members are encouraged to nominate themselves for any position on the Executive Committee.

Fresh faces and fresh ideas are an important part in keeping the SDFA an interesting and exciting place to be part of.

If you would like more information on being a committee member, please refer to the Committee Roles and Responsibilities under policies and forms.

5 reasons to join the SDFA Committee

1). Experience – behind the scenes of how things work and what goes into making it so successful!

2). Networking – build stronger relationships. You’re guaranteed to make new friends!

3). Development – The skills you will learn while participating on the committee will directly translate into professional and personal development.

4). Rewarding – contribute to the growth and future success of the SDFA.

5). FUN!


History of the SDFA

In 1973 a group of volunteers met to discuss the need to provide a social club and community network for NAVY families at HMAS Albatross. They formed the RAN Wives Association (commonly known as Navy Wives Association). The main aims of the association were to provide social activities for members, raise funds for local charities and organise volunteer hospital visitors. They initially met at the White Ensign Club in Bridge Rd Nowra. Funding came from membership fees and monies raised from special events.

In the beginning it was decided the association would not be a fundraising association or hold charity days. Each year the committee picked a charity and any money not required by the association would be donated to it. Charities that have benefited from the association over the years are the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital, NSW Ambulance Service, Nowra Hill Preschool, Museum, MS Society, David Berry Hospital, Noah’s Ark, St Vincent De Paul, Smith Family, Camp Quality and Guide Dogs Association.

With defence life being so transient, the association has changed and developed over the years as new members came in and others left for posting reasons. A newsletter was established early on to inform service members of upcoming events and general community information. As HMAS Albatross and HMAS Creswell became a more diverse defence community, so the Navy Wives Association welcomed Army and Air Force families and changed their name to reflect this. In 1988 the associations name changed to RAN and Combined Services Wives and Friends Association (commonly known as Combined Wives Association). Being tri-service provided the opportunity for everyone connected with the base to enjoy many aspects of the association.

1987 saw the association move to Canberra Drive, with thanks to the Welfare Fund who provided the association with 2 units. This allowed the group to add new activities and to have a home base. Unit 1 was and still is used for the crèche. From 1987 to 1994 the ladies operated a thrift shop out of one of the rooms in unit 1. This was a profitable venture early on. Unit 2 was and still is used for a meeting place and office.

To assist with running costs, grants have been used. The first grant was applied for in 1990 to assist with the cost of insurance. In recent times (1996), the Federal Government has recognized the value of such support groups to the defence community, and has begun offering limited financial assistance through their Family Support Funding Program (FSFP). Each financial year, groups that directly benefit service families may apply to have specific projects partially funded through Government grants.

While this has helped enormously to keep the association running, it also meant bookkeeping and auditing was more important than ever. Hence, the RAN & Combined Services Wives Association became an incorporated body in November 1992, ensuring its members, and the Government that it must abide by the rules and regulations of the Associations Incorporation Act (1984).

Many service families now reside in Nowra suburbs, unlike the early days of The Patch, and so have easy access to many of the community services available. Thus, the priorities of the association have changed to include groups that members see as relevant to their particular circumstances. These include playgroup, gym sessions, craft mornings and regular coffee’n’chat mornings. The group also produces a biannual magazine called Time Out that is distributed to defence families in the Shoalhaven and Illawarra area, as well as a copies being distributed on board.

Over the years the association has provided support, information and much needed social interaction to the defence community of the Shoalhaven. In 1997 the members voted to change the name of the association to better reflect its services and in 1998 the group went into their 25th year with a new name, the Shoalhaven Defence Families Association Inc (SDFA).

Proudly sponsored by the DCO Family Support Funding Program and the Community Support Coordinator Program.

Donors include:
Veolia Mulwaree Trust
Defence Bank
Australian Military Bank
Navy Health
Defence Health

Useful Links

– DCO Defence Community Organisation
– South Coast Nannies
– WVNA Women Veterans Network Association
– Defence Special Needs Support Group (DSNSG)
– Navy Canteens and Ticketing

– Booking a Canberra Flat. Temporary accommodation is available for defence members. Bookings are arranged through base security. Phone 02 4424 3108 or Email with the PMKEYS number of the person booking. Cost is $55 per night with a minimum two night stay.