Immersion in remote WA town

June 16, 2017

Year 10 Notre Dame students with teachers Elliott Small and Susan Nabbs, who will head to Broome later this month as part of their Immersion trip.

In a remote school on the far-north Western Australian coast, students from Notre Dame College will soon immerse themselves completely in Aboriginal culture.

Far from the urban bustle of Shepparton, seven Year 10 students will take the long, bumpy bus ride down an old gravel track from Broome to Djarindjin Lombadina, a combined indigenous community at Cape Leveque.

While it’s not the stereotypical desert scenario, the students will be at least two hours from another town and will learn what true isolation is all about.

The close-knit community is 170km from Broome in the Kimberley Region, and employment, education and health infrastructure continue to be a challenge for the community.

‘‘Not many students are aware of these communities and what they face,’’ Notre Dame College VCE learning and teaching leader Susan Nabbs said.

‘‘Isolation is the biggest thing for this community, and that usually places strain on medical, education and employment.

‘‘The kids here may have a connection to our local indigenous community, but here there are different concerns, it’s a completely different scenario.’’

For two weeks, students will spend time at the Djarindjin Lombadina Catholic School, where they will help to oversee the school’s holiday program, an athletic day as well as offer assistance in lessons.

The trip is part of the college’s Immersion journey, where each year Year 10 students travel to disadvantaged parts of Australia and the world, as well as raise money for and help rebuild communities.

Year 10 students Matthew Poppa, Tom Gugliotti and Kiara Gagliardi said they were all going on the trip to learn more about indigenous culture.

While the trio agreed they had some sort of connection to Shepparton’s indigenous community, they wanted to learn more about the customs, traditions and issues surrounding those in remote Australia.

‘‘For a long time I’ve been told about missions and how remote Aboriginals live, so I thought I should go out and see for myself what it’s like and compare it to the way we live here,’’ student Tom Gugliotti said.

‘‘Even though we’re in the same country we’re so different. We’re at an advantage but they hardly have anything and I think it’s about opening our eyes to those issues and helping where we can.’’

The students and their teachers will travel to Broome on June 25.

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