Abbott plans flying visit to remote NT boarding school

Tony Abbott will make his first public venture into a remote Aboriginal school today as special envoy on indigenous affairs, visiting the new Dawurr boarding quarters at Nhulunbuy High School in northeastern Arnhem Land.

Mr Abbott announced a priority in his role would be examining how to improve remote indigenous school attendance rates, although today’s brief visit will raise eyebrows for having failed to engage with key local figures such as Gumatj clan leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu.

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Neighbourhood noise

What is music to your ears may just be noise to your neighbour. Try to make sure that your activities at home do not become a nuisance to others by showing them some consideration. Here are some things you can do to keep the peace in your neighbourhood:

Nhulunbuy kids write groundbreaking new book in Yolgnu Matha

One of our ambassadors, illustrator Ann James, and Tina Raye and Nicole Whiles from our team have just returned from Nhulunbuy in East Arnhem Land. Their trip was dual purpose: to conduct writing workshops with a group of kids from Nhulunbuy Primary School and to boost our Book Buzz progam in local playgroups.

Late last year, Ann, along with ILF Progam Coordinator, Cindy Manfong and Ann Haddon from Books Illustrated, spent a week at the school on the Gove Peninsula. The kids produced some beautiful illustrations for a book reflecting their life by the sea.

“They are coastal people, and what these students drew just blew me away,” says Tina, our Program Manager.

Over a week, this group of talented 7- to 12-year-olds developed a story, using their artworks as the springboard for this second burst of creativity.

Ann enlarged the students’ illustrations onto large sheets of paper and tacked them onto the long wall of the school’s biggest classroom, to jog memories and provide additional inspiration.

“It was like a long frieze, 21 metres long. The kids were totally amazed seeing their drawings like that. And so big! There was lots of chatter, a great deal of excitement,” said Tina.

English is not the first language for these youngsters who mostly come from the outlying communities of Wallaby Beach and Ski Beach (Gunyangara), 10 and 15 kilometres west of the town of Nhulunbuy respectively. They speak Yolgnu Matha at home and among themselves, although in the classroom all lessons are in English. A local Yolgnu woman, Lisa Dhurrkay translated so all the story telling could take place in the kids’ first language.

“This was very important,” Tina explains. “The kids understand English but are most confident when speaking Yolgnu Matha.”

The finished book will be produced in two versions. One will be in Yolgnu Matha and will be gifted to communities and schools like Nhulunbuy and Yirrkala where Yolngu Matha is the students’ first language. The other will be mostly in English, with some Yolgnu Matha words. It will be distributed to remote Indigenous communities, schools and organisations across Australia through our Book Supply program, and will also be available for sale in 2019 at selected bookshops and on the ILF website.

While in Nhulunbuy, Nicole (our Early Literacy Supervisor) also visited FaFT programs (Families as First Teachers) in the NT at Ski Beach (Gunyangara) and at Yirrkala. She had a great time meeting families and their children and talking about the Book Buzz program.

“The mothers were very excited about the prospect of having some of the picture and board books we supply translated into their own language. And they love being involved in choosing the books [from our catalogue] to use in their playgroups,” said Nicole.

Meanwhile, the designer Lee Burgemeestre, is laying out the pages with Ann James and Ann Haddon and tweaking the design of the Nhulunbuy Primary students’ book. Soon Lisa will be back at the school helping the kids with a final check of their text before the book goes to print, ready to be launched some time in 2019. We can’t wait to see it!

Posted 24 August, 2018

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Community cooperation for peaceful Gove AFL Grand Final

The Gove AFL Grand Final was held in Yirrkala on Saturday, 1 September with an incredible turn out by the East Arnhem Community.

Following consultation with the Rirratjingu and Gumatj Aboriginal Corporations, the traditional owners requested licensees implement takeaway alcohol restrictions during the grand final weekend.

Officer in Charge of Nhulunbuy Police, Senior Sergeant Daniel Whitfield-Jones said the community wanted to maintain order and enhance community amenity, social harmony and wellbeing. As a harm reduction initiative, police, in collaboration with all licenced premises in Nhulunbuy, were able to negotiate a reduction in takeaway hours and supply amounts.

“The initiative was a tremendous success, with no domestic violence or other alcohol-related violence or antisocial behaviour being recorded over the weekend. We would like to thank the community for their support during this period,” he said.

“This is a great example of what our community can achieve when we all work together.”

Melville Bay Boat Ramp Update

The Nhulunbuy Regional Sports Fishing Club wishes to update residents regarding the Melville Bay Community Boat Ramp Project.

As reported earlier this month, unfortunately due to a mechanical breakdown, some of the low tide civil construction work was not able to be finished. Planning is now underway to complete these final major civil tasks between the 10th to 12th of September.

Following a recent site inspection, and in the best interest of public safety, the western ramp is to remain closed until Friday the 14.09.2018. Unfinished sea wall rock and concrete works are not yet completed and metal starter bars are exposed at the end of the new ramp slab. The single ramp will remain open other than the September exclusion period.

The photo attached to this update shows the formation of the new access channel that will allow zero tide access on the western ramp. This work will be completed in September. If boat operators using the single ramp wish to access the carpark beach, please keep 50 metres away from the rock sea wall in all directions.

The club will soon announce a public meeting to provide important information as to improvements at this facility, access channel work and markers and other details that will assist boat owners when the new ramp opens.

The following is an update for ramp access for August and September :

Single ramp : remains open until 6pm Sunday 09.09.2018.

Ramp exclusion : 6pm Sunday 09.09.18 to 9am Thursday 13.09.2018 (all ramps and access roadway)
Single ramp : reopen 9am Thursday 13.09.18
Double ramp : reopen 6pm Friday 14.09.18
Pontoon : reopen 6pm Friday 14.09.18

For your own safety the general public is asked to follow instructions of authorised site contractors, all project signage, and traffic/work site bollards that have been deployed.

We apologise for any inconvenience. Please call 0417 879 031 for all enquiries.

Local real estate agent introducing novel solution to Nhulunbuy’s housing crisis

Local real estate agent, the eternally puissant Annabelline Stealmore-Lifeblood is set to introduce an innovative approach to the town’s perennial housing crisis – a Thunderdome in which residents do battle for an affordable home.

The Thunderdome, to be built on the outskirts of Nhulunbuy by yet another interstate construction firm promising local training and jobs, will be governed by one simple rule – ‘two enter, one leaves…with an asbestos-free* (*conditions apply), Rio-owned unit of your choice’.

It is expected that Imparja will secure the rights to broadcast live Thunderdome contests and also a lucrative Saturday night highlights package.

“There’s nothing I like more than watching impoverished plebs batter each other into submission for my personal entertainment,” said one well-to-do local who asked to remain anonymous.

Mel knows the lengths one must go to secure affordable housing in Gove

Some employees from sectors other than mining and government were dubious of the plan.

“Right, so it’s not enough that I have to take out a mortgage to fly in and out of my hometown, that I have to wait 6 weeks for Winellie to regurgitate my mail or that my career prospects are dependent on my ability to look enthusiastic when I hear ‘clean-up on aisle 3′,” said young a young local who also asked to remain anonymous.

“Now the only way I can secure sensibly priced housing is through brutal voyeuristic combat.”

“The region’s decision-makers couldn’t show me any more contempt if one of them came ’round and shat on my dining room table.”

It is understood that DEAL may have once toyed with the idea of offering a small number of sensibly-priced units to local residents who expressed a desire to remain in the region post-curtailment, and continue to plow their below average wages into the local economy, but as that would likely infuriate the region’s plutocracy and particularly real estate agents and their alleged burgeoning list of businesses falling over each other to relocate to the region, it was decided that the Thunderdome plan was slightly less stupid.

Roadtrip rolls through the NT to empower young trailblazers

An Australian-first initiative that will empower over 3,000 young women has touched down in the Northern Territory.

Country to Canberra is driving over 30,000km to run ‘Project Empower’, an award-winning program that promotes leadership and gender equality to teenage girls across rural and remote Australia.

CEO Hannah Wandel says the not-for-profit organisation is excited to spend the next two weeks in the Territory to run the free, innovative program in places like Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.

“Incredibly, we will be reaching over 400 young women in Northern Territory high schools alone.

“Project Empower builds self-confidence, educates about diversity and provides leadership training. We want to ensure no matter where you’re from or what gender you are; you have the tools to succeed.

“We love the Territory, so are really looking forward to discussing important issues with local students.”

Ms Wandel said the response to Project Empower has been breathtaking.

“Earlier this year, we received dozens of expressions of interest from the Northern Territory asking us to come and run Project Empower in their region. It shows that people are crying out for programs like this in the bush.”

In the NT, Project Empower is visiting schools and community groups in Minyerri, Jilkminggan, Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.

Country to Canberra has a history of success, having run its prestigious Power Trip program since 2014 to connect rural girls with the likes of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and top CEOs. It won Holden’s first-ever ‘What Drives You’ grant to kick-start Project Empower.

The roadtrip will ultimately travel through every state and territory to over 90 rural and remote towns.


To follow the interactive map, documentaries and more, see www.countrytocanberra.com.au/projectempower.

Marine debris on north Australian beaches doubles in a decade; foreign fishers may be to blame, researchers say

Trash from the sea washing up on Arnhem Land’s once-pristine beaches has doubled in the last decade.

Researchers say there is up to three tonnes of marine debris per kilometre along 11 monitored beaches in northern Australia, and that much of it is related to increasing foreign fishing activity, some of it illegal.

In June, the ABC spoke with residents of Cape Arnhem, near Nhulunbuy, who detailed the level of rubbish that was washing up on local beaches.

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Melville Bay Community Boat Ramp Project Update

The Nhulunbuy Regional Sports Fishing Club wishes to advise that the final stage of the Melville Bay Community Boat Ramp Project is now underway.

Over the next 3 months there will be periods of total exclusion of this area due to the operation of heavy machinery. During the ramp closure periods, the access roadway will be barricaded west of the Seaswift entry gate. At no time will the Seaswift yard entry be closed during normal working hours.

Only emergency services and freight delivery will be permitted during the following times : 15 – 19 June, 13 – 18 July, 11 – 15 August. Access and use of the ramps outside of these dates may be restricted in some way.

For your own safety, the general public is asked to follow the instructions of authorised site contractors and all signage and bollards that have been deployed. Please call 0417 879 031 for all enquiries.