viewing story

Victorian Clontarf graduates from Bairnsdale, Mildura and Warrnambool have just returned from a once in a life time trip to Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory. The trip saw the boys experience a wide and diverse range of activities. Our hosts during our stay were the fabulous Yirrkala Academy boys led by Rob Clements and Hamish Simpson.

Graduates Richard Harrison, Ray Adams, Mathew Hayes, Justin Scarr and Nick Young were joined by Year 11 students Stuart Hood and Jaharlyn Mitchell on this amazing adventure.

The trip started with a five hour stopover in Cairns in far North Queensland. After disembarking from our plane and a quick change of clothes it was off to enjoy wonderful Cairns surroundings. We took this opportunity to relax, take in some rays and enjoy the scenery on the esplanade. Then it was back on the plane to Nhulunbuy and the Yirrkala Academy.

Monday saw us taking time to introduce ourselves and visit some of the local sites. First visit was the Malka Art Centre Yirrkala. The boys had the opportunity to speak with local artists and watch traditional painting first hand. After a quick look around town we took time to cool off at the local swimming spot.

Day 2 saw an early start for our trip to Bukudal in Arnhem Land. After packing up the troopies with our gear and provisions it was off to the traditional lands of the Morning Star People.

On arriving at Bukudal we were traditionally welcomed by the Mununggur brothers. Lulpangi “Kevin” Mununggur encouraged us to enjoy his homeland and experience as much as we could of their culture whilst we were there.

The afternoon saw us visit various sites along this amazing coastal setting. Swimming and fishing were the chosen activities. The peacefulness and pristine clear waters of the area are just amazing. Back at camp our hosts spoke about their culture and told the story about Donald Thompson.

Day 3 was traditional spear making day which saw the boys learning the process of finding, selecting and making a good spear. With the help of our guides we ventured deep into the bush area to select our spears and then headed back to camp to make them. A large fire made and each boy advised on the correct process to make a good spear.

During the morning the boys saw firsthand the use of a traditional spear when one of our hosts leapt from the beach with spear, woomera and proceeded to spear a giant Trevally. It was truly amazing watching the accuracy in which they are able to throw their spears and their ability to spot the slightest movement in the water.

Late afternoon was the opportunity to test our spears and see who could catch the biggest fish. We were educated on the correct way to throw our spears with the woomera and how to spot schools of fish. Although unsuccessful in landing the big one, we uncovered some outstanding throwing techniques. This time also saw us sit with our hosts, share stories and traditional berries.

We were again up early the following day for fishing and then it was time to pack up our campsite and head back to Yirrkala. We farewelled our hosts and thanked them for spending time with us and sharing their culture.

On arriving back in Yirrkala we started organising our community activity of fire wood collecting. This activity enabled us to meet the community and share in their lifestyles. From the photos we took the community really enjoyed our efforts and meeting our boys.

Our last official day in Yirrkala saw us enjoy a six hour fishing charter extravaganza. We finished the day at the local crocodile park patting some of the inhabitants. Yes one scary thought indeed. The camp was an amazing experience and just reward for the efforts the Year 12 boys have put into graduating.

01 02 03 04