Student & Graduate Profiles

Brad Axiak

Brad Axiak'the diverse writing and photography unit selections, enabled me to plan a uniquely fashioned degree, designed by, and for me'

At the age of 19, Brad joined the Royal Australian Navy as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. Two years later he graduated from the RAAF Technical School in Wagga Wagga, and was posted to the Royal Australian Naval Air Station in Nowra, NSW. After extensive training, he was given ship postings between 2001 and 2003, which included peacekeeping duties in the Solomon Islands and two tours to the Persian Gulf.

Brad says that ‘growing tired of living from a suitcase’ was his main reason for leaving the Navy. He also felt he’d exhausted his interest in aircraft maintenance, and a few words from a fellow maintainer stayed with him for many years. After reading some of Brad’s creative work, Brad’s colleague urged him to study something artistic, because he ‘didn’t belong in the Navy.’

Brad left the Navy in 2004 and ran his own fencing company in Sydney. After three successful years of business operation, he packed his bags and moved to Melbourne. In 2007 he was accepted at Deakin as a Bachelor of Arts (Professional and Creative Writing) undergraduate.     

After such a long absence from any kind of study routine, Brad expected the work load to be quite demanding and for the first semester, this proved to be the case. However, he feels that ‘from the outset, the Deakin teaching and administration staff have played a pivotal role’ in all facets of his return to study. He’s also found that the wide range of writing and photography units on offer has enabled him to plan ‘a uniquely fashioned degree’ – one that is tailored to his future goals.

Aside from his writing studies, he has excelled in photography, having one of his images featured in Verandah 23, a photographic series published on the ‘Outsiders Guide to Melbourne’ website (www.outsidersguide.org), and various photographs exhibited around the Deakin Burwood campus. He has also contributed to G’day India magazine as a writer and photographer.

Brad says his dream career ‘would be to travel to all corners of Australia, documenting both people and landscape.’ He believes that ‘on a social and environmental level, we are living in an extremely critical phase in Australian history’, and therefore feels it is his personal obligation to record the experiences of his generation.

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