Providence Earns Its Stripes With RAAF Base Amberley Workers

Providence Earns Its Stripes With RAAF Base Amberley Workers

25 AUG 2020

The Providence township at South Ripley has quickly gained a reputation as the first stop for RAAF families making the move to serve at the Amberley base.

With its two brand-new, state-of-the-art schools, complete with their own Defence Services Mentor, and a community-wide focus on health and fitness, Providence’s location just 20 mins from RAAF Amberley has seen dozens of base personnel move in over the last five years.

The strong sense of community, which has been fostered by a host of annual events and shared facilities, is also a strong factor in helping military families make the transition to a new location and make local connections.

For Warrant Officer David Sheen, a loadmaster with the 36 Squadron RAAF, Providence was the obvious choice to set up his new life when he was transferred to Amberley.

“The first thing we were looking for was something that was close to the base, but far enough away that we didn’t feel we were living on the base, that distance was really important and with providence just 20 minute’s drive it fits the bill perfectly,” Mr Sheen said.

“The ability to get out and enjoy the beautiful Queensland weather as a family was also a key part of the decision to buy at Providence.

“As an established community there is already heaps of parks and paths to exercise in and the outdoor gym plus the range of formal fitness businesses gives you plenty of options to focus on your health,”

Spanning more than 700 hectares, around three times the size of Brisbane’s CBD, Providence is being developed by family-owned Okeland Communities. The town will be constructed over 20 years and will feature around 7,000 homes, providing for a population of about 20,000 residents.

On completion, the community will include more than 200ha of parklands and open space, a town centre, an education precinct, a health and wellbeing hub and a sport and recreation precinct.

Since it was first launched in 2014, Okeland Communities has put a strong emphasis on facilitating community-led health initiatives and there are now a range of regular options including bootcamps, pilates, HIIT and circuit training. Established walking and running groups also meet weekly.

Many of the health and fitness programs are run close to the Providence Community Centre which has just received a major overhaul to provide locals with a space to pursue their creative and business dreams.

Ease Kids Into New Schools

While health and lifestyle are important factors, the most important feature of Providence for defense families is the stunning new schools.

Located in the heart of Providence, the Ripley Valley State School and Ripley Valley State Secondary College welcomed their first students in January.

Given the schools’ proximity to Amberley they were able to secure funding for a dedicated Defence Services Mentor for 2020.  The paid position covers both the primary and secondary schools and dedicated to supporting defence students and their families to ensure that they are able to settle in and succeed in their new school.

Provided by the Defence Community Organisation (DCO) the program provides funding to eligible schools in order to engage a Defence School Mentor. Mentors work to minimise the impact of mobility on education and build the capability of the school in supporting Defence students and their families.

Mentors are based within primary and secondary schools across Australia for the purpose of providing support to the children of Defence families through on-site, direct and flexible assistance to students, parents, teachers and other support services.

This may include:

  • Assisting new children and their families to integrate into the school and local community,
  • Monitoring the social and emotional wellbeing of Defence students,
  • Assisting students develop self-confidence, self-reliance and resilience,
  • Referring students to services, or school and community programs that meet their needs,
  • Enhancing awareness and appreciation of the unique Defence lifestyle in schools and communities, and
  • Providing support to children during times of parental absence.

Ripley Valley State Secondary College is open for Years 7 and 8 students this year and will grow each year to offer Year 7 to 12. The school master plan identifies further staged development as the school grows to accommodate the full Year 7 to 12 enrolments.

The schools, which will cater for more than 300 students, is part of Providence’s $120 million education precinct that also includes a new childcare centre

The new precinct will provide Providence families with access to a full suite of state-of-the-art learning facilities in the heart of South Ripley’s most vibrant township.

Providence Project Director Michael Khan said the new education precinct was about giving local children the best possible start in life with

“The new schools are just the first stage of a major new town centre that will include a health and wellbeing hub and extensive retail, convenience and entertainment facilities,” he said.

“Providence is the heart and soul of the Ripley Valley, Queensland’s fastest growing corridor, and we look forward to delivering a town centre that provides our community with everything they need to live their very best life.”

Located on 6 Amity Way, South Ripley, Providence’s Land Sales and Community Centre is open 10am – 5pm, 7 days. For more information call 1800 604 246, email or visit

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