Over the last couple of years, senior boys have had the rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of Aboriginal history and culture in action through the Red Centre tours led by Science teacher and Head of Service Learning, Mr Mick Madden. This year, the 2017 Service Learning Immersion Tour promised to be more challenging than previous with a unique chance to learn from two experienced local aboriginal men who invited the boys to stay on their land and engage in a variety of activities that showcased their people and culture.
While it is possible to discuss in further and more elaborate detail the sights they saw and the cultural activities they engaged in, this tour, along with the many other Service Learning initiatives are never purely about the experience but the growth the boys undergo as they move beyond their comfort zones and see life from someone else’s eyes.
For many of the boys this was their first time in this part of Australia and their first time being exposed to Aboriginal culture. Many didn’t have any prior experience or exposure and were shocked to learn about the darker sides of white Australian history.
“It has changed my views completely” said Thomas Jordan.
“The problems Aboriginal people face are huge – lack of employment, lack of education, and not much is really being done. Aboriginal people may have a regular day job, but in their own community, they have traditional jobs, and not a lot of time for each”.
Marcus Dadd agreed adding that going on tour helped him reconsider racial stereotyping and has given him a new cause to champion.
“It is up to us now to do all we can to change the current stereotype that surrounds aboriginal culture. We must make our voices heard so that they are treated fairly and in the same way as other Australians”, he said.
“The trip has cemented my knowledge of how old aboriginal culture is and it has provided an eye opener into the injustice that aboriginal people have suffered since white man’s arrival”.
Apart from learning about history, the tour also provided greater appreciation amongst the boys for their way of life as well as learn some important lessons in teamwork and collaboration.
“Moving the rocks at Johnny’s place was much more significant than it sounds. The teamwork and communication that the boys had whilst working together was admirable and brought us closer together as a group”.
Justin Raja agreed saying that he was amazed by how independent they were on each of the properties.
“It really felt like we were making a difference in helping them”, he said.