Terry Mills was born into a farming family in Geraldton, Western Australia, and started his working life on the land in Mullewa.
Droughts and low commodity prices saw him leave the agricultural industry to his younger brothers and move to Perth to study Education.
Terry entered the teaching profession as a mature aged student in 1983 and embarked on a successful career firstly in Perth and then in the Northern Territory. He spent 17 years in nongovernment education, 10 of these as the first principal of Palmerston Christian School.
Terry married Roslyn in August 1982 and moved to Palmerston in 1990 with their two children, Kristen and Matthew.
Ros is a teacher though she spent time as a nurse in WA and also in Darwin after the cyclone.
Kristen and Matthew are Territory kids. Both were educated in Palmerston and were involved in Aussie Rules, swimming, soccer, hockey, scouts, junior police rangers, rodeo and music.
Kristen is now in her final year at Curtin University studying physiotherapy and Matthew has returned to the land, having worked as a stockman on the Barkly and now a contract musterer in North Queensland.
Prior to his teaching career in the Territory, Terry also worked as an army officer training cadets, and as an education consultant with a number of senior Indonesian families in Perth.
After helping develop an international language school in Perth, Terry spent time in Indonesia, visiting friends and helping develop an import business. He also worked for a time in a refugee camp on the Thai/Burma border.
Terry and Ros’s decision to move to the Northern Territory was in part because of the opportunities presented by Darwin’s closeness to Asia.
The Mills family arrived in Palmerston on New Year’s Eve 1989 and Terry became the principal of the first non-government school in Palmerston.
Terry is actively involved in the community, and has served on a number of sporting and community groups. He firmly believes the strength of community is measured by the strength of grassroots community organisations, which survive through the spirit of volunteerism.
Currently a proud patron of a number of sporting and community groups, Terry has received Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Awards in recognition of his work with the community.
Terry’s decision to join the Country Liberal Party was made in part after hearing a speech by Paul Keating after claiming victory over John Hewson. Terry certainly didn’t agree that ‘this was the sweetest victory of them all’ and demonstrated this by joining the CLP, the Territory Party.
The retirement of Barry Coulter in 1999 as Member for Blain saw Terry successfully gain preselection and go on to retain the seat of Blain for the CLP and again in 2001.
In the last Territory election, in June 2005, the CLP suffered further losses, and now the Seat of Blain is the only remaining CLP seat north of Katherine.
In the six years Terry has represented the people of Palmerston he has remained close to the community by helping families deal with problems common to urban communities.
These issues include problem neighbours, anti-social behaviour in the streets and parks and youth related problems. Community meetings and active lobbying on behalf of residents has seen encouraging results in Palmerston.
In the Territory Parliament Terry has carried a number of portfolio responsibilities. Currently he holds eleven shadow portfolios that include:
Treasury; Business and Economic Development; Education Employment and Training; Public Employment; Asian Relations and Trade; Racing Gaming and Licensing; Sport and Recreation; Parks and Wildlife; Arts and Museums; Indigenous Affairs and Young Territorians.
In addition he is member of the following parliamentary committees: Public Accounts, Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Substance Abuse, Sport and Youth and Privileges.
Terry has maintained an interest in the region to our north, has lead two contingents of NT Senior Secondary Athletes to South Sulewesi and Lombok, negotiated a sister-school relationship with two schools in West Timor and led two contingents to West Timor and completed language studies at Universitas Nusa Cendana.
Terry is a long serving member of the Palmerston - Kupang Sister City Committee and has been involved in a number of official meetings and visits with the Mayor and Governor of Kupang.
Terry and Ros are Christians and enjoy to spending some time on Sundays at their local Church.
Recreational interests include running with the Darwin Runners Club, fishing when time permits, bushwalking to explore the Territory’s history, music, cooking and reading.