Tamara Slooper - Harding As the daughter of a Royal Australian Naval Officer and being one herself, Tamara has lived at many different places and travelled extensively. She was born at Liss in England but also lived overseas in Hawaii and again in the United Kingdom during postings for her father. She commenced her education at St Kevin’s, Dee Why, continued at Haslemere in England before returning to St. Kevin’s and then Mater Maria, Warriewood. Tamara completed secondary schooling at St. Clare’s in Canberra before commencing a BA at Canberra University and then joining the RAN in January 1987 at the Australian Defence Force Academy, completing her training at HMAS CRESWELL, Jervis Bay in 1988.

Her initial postings in the Navy were as an Administration Officer, generally in personnel management and community support areas, including Public Relations and media. This included time at sea onboard HMAS STALWART and HMAS TOBRUK. After qualifying as an Intelligence Officer, Tamara had operational postings in Maritime Headquarters, Headquarters Australia Theatre, at sea in USS CORONADO, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, and finally as a member of the Interfet peacekeeping force under General Cosgrove in September 1999 in Timor Leste (East Timor). Her exposure to the sufferings of the civilian population following the atrocities during the Timorese struggle for independence, lead to her passionate involvement and desire to provide assistance. She became involved with orphanages and schools, organising food and aid packages to be sent to her for distribution while there and has continued this since then.

She married Adrian Harding, an Army officer, in September 1999, again keeping the Northern Beaches association, at St. Patrick’s, Manly. (She received the phone call about the deployment to Timor Leste during the wedding reception.) They have four children and, on settling in Avalon, Tamara transferred to the RAN Reserve (Inactive) as a Lieutenant Commander after almost 19 years in the RAN. Adrian working in a civilian defence support capacity, remains an active Army Reservist Lieutenant Colonel. Tamara and Adrian have four children. Vaughan aged 18, Isabeau 17, Xavier 15 and Armelle 14.

In March, 2011 she was honoured with the award of Pittwater Woman of the Year. She also received The Rotary International Service Award in recognition of outstanding human endeavour contributing to international peace and goodwill. On Australia Day 2016 she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her work for the communities of Timor Leste and Pittwater.