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There are many advantages to having Clontarf Academies spread from the west coast to the east coast of Australia – one being the opportunity for our boys to meet and interact with Clontarf participants from other regions.

In September, eight Year 12 boys from Dalby Academy in the Darling Downs region of Queensland made the most of that very opportunity as they headed to Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory and then Cairns, Queensland for their end of year trip.

In true Clontarf spirit, the Dalby boys were welcomed with open arms by staff and students from Yirrkala Academy. Together, the two Academies from two very different parts of the country headed to Garrthalala outstation to share their cultures and experiences during a myriad of eye-opening activities.

Braving the humidity (that the Yirrkala boys were already well adjusted to), the boys took part in spear making, spear fishing (using the spears they’d made!) and beach trekking. Some of the braver boys even tried some of the local traditional cuisine.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Clontarf trip if it didn’t include a game of footy and the boys relished the chance to test their skills against an interstate Academy. Despite rugby league being the sport of choice for most of the boys, they all had a go at a game of Australian Rules under lights and was well enjoyed by all.

They shared laughs, stories from their communities and the experiences they’d had with Clontarf. More importantly, they realised that despite living more than 3,500km apart, they shared a similar goal of finishing school and being role models for the younger people of their region.

After an authentic Arnhem experience, the Dalby boys bid fond farewells (but not goodbyes) and headed back across the border into Queensland and Cairns, where Clontarf opened six Academies in January this year.

Here they met with some of the newest participants from Cairns and Trinity Bay Academies and were even joined by fellow travellers from Oxley Academy (Tamworth, NSW).

Together they took part in a close-fought but well-enjoyed basketball competition, visited Hartley’s Crocodile Farm, spent an afternoon swimming in the fresh water lagoons of Mosman Gorge, and headed over to Fitzroy Island for snorkelling and stand up paddleboarding.

Back home, the boys from Dalby now head into Term 4 with the aim of finishing Year 12 on a high note before taking the next big step into life after school. Dalby Academy wishes them all the best and can’t wait to finish off the year!

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