Monthly Archives: October 2014
We hear so often about the importance of delivering relevant education to kids in remote indigenous communities. It’s one of the biggest challenges we face as a nation. So it was a real pleasure to visit just such a community and see a school that’s doing just that – mixing the three Rs with local language, culture and knowledge.
Jarlmadangah Burru is about a three hour drive from Broome – in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia. It’s on Mount Anderson Station, just over an hour’s drive from Derby. Nyikina Mangala Community School was established in 2000 to provide an appropriate educational service for the local kids. It’s not the most remote community I’ve been to, but it’s one of the smallest – full time population of under 100. People wanted a school established so their kids could stay in the community and learn local stories and languages, as well as reading writing and arithmetic.
If you want to run a school in a place like Jarlmadangah, you’ve got to find teachers who are prepared to live in the community and stay a while. They’ve been very fortunate to find Carmel Leahy and Emma Sookee – who love living and working here.
Listen to my interview here [audio https://rdontheroad.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/sc-jarlmadangah-school.mp3|bg=0x0000ff|righticon=0xff0000]
And read more about the school at http://aics.wa.edu.au/schools/nyikina-mangala-community-school
My first official duty with ABC Kimberley in Broome was to MC the unveiling of a memorial to an RAAF crew lost 70 years ago to the day.
Flight Sergeants Ronald Smith and Ronald Kerrigan took off from Broome early one morning in September 1944 – their RAAF Beaufighter crashed into the sea off Cable Beach just minutes into the flight. The wreckage – and their bodies – were not found.
In 2012, helicopter pilot and experienced wreck hunter Jim Miles teamed up with local historian Dion Marinis and they began looking for the downed aircraft. After months of searching, they found what’s left of the plane just two kilometres offshore. It’s still not clear what caused it to crash, but an engine failure is the most probable explanation. Now, 70 years after the event, relatives and friends of the two airmen were able to gather at Cable Beach for the dedication of a memorial in their honour.
It was a very moving event – and a special moment for Jim and Dion – listen to them talk about the search for RAAF Beaufighter A19-163, and about what else might be found along the Kimberley coast.[audio https://rdontheroad.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/breakfast-beauf.mp3|bg=0x0000ff|righticon=0xff0000]
There’s quite a few songs about the Kimberley moon – and now I know why. I’ve been looking to the heavens every night this week as the moon grew full – and last night I saw the lunar eclipse, the blood moon. I climbed up a sand dune at the back of Cable Beach to get some elevation and be able to see the moon as it came up out of the hot dry inland east of us.
Wow – the Kimberley turned out to be a really good place to watch the eclipse – there’s so little ground light that a good view can be had even close to town. And tonight I squeezed in to the crowd at Town Beach for the start of the last staircase to the moon for the year. It’s an effect caused by a full moon rising over the mudflats, the light reflects on the water and looks like – yes, a staircase to the moon. Well worth seeing.