Page 1

Cape York

News A Cape York Welfare Reform initiative

MARCH 2013

A u r u k u n C o e n H o p e V a l e M o s s ma n G o rg e

Guugu Yimidhirr language work The work to revitalise the Guugu Yimidhirr language is continuing in 2013. In the Culture domain of CYAAA’s Hope Vale campus students study their ancestral language as well as other aspects of Aboriginal culture. One of the current projects is to publish a bilingual book with the children’s own stories in English and Guugu Yimidhirr. The language teaching is partly based on direct instruction-style lesson books that are being developed with support of the Queensland Government. Other activities during the language lessons such as singing and story-telling have been developed by the local teachers, who are fluent in the language. During the first year of instruction it has been discovered that some of the students have learned quite a bit of ancestral language at home. It is important that communities, organisations and governments nurture such natural transmission of language, because it is very hard to revive languages that cease to be used in every-day life. There is still a lot of linguistic “BIITL” work (“Before It Is Too Late”) to be carried out in the Guugu Yimidhirr area. One exciting development in the language work is that Guugu Yimidhirr speakers find “new” words: words that apparently have not been discovered by the linguists who have worked with the language previously. We hope that government will continue to support this kind of work in all language areas.

Aurukun Culture Camp: Learning on Country As part of the Homelands unit of the CYAAA Culture Program, culture camps are held on traditional homelands supported by local Indigenous groups.

the new bauxite mine near Amban. They brought maps and pictures with them and fielded questions from the students about damage to the environment.

Hosted by the Traditional Owners, the Kerindun family, Year 5-7 students visited the beautiful beach of Amban from the 17th - 19th October. Students worked in small teams to set up their campsites, plan activities for the day and cook their own food. They rotated through activities such as body painting, damper making, tie dying, fishing, orienteering and necklace making. Rio Tinto staff visited the students to provide information on the plans for

More photos on page 3!

Cape York News

2012 Academy Awards

The Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy would like to extend a big thanks to the Family Responsibilities Commission for the attendance award prizes, and to Island and Cape, Rio Tinto and Harvey Norman for donating the academic award prizes. All award recipients were very excited to receive their prizes.

Coen Campus

We learnt that an insect has three body parts; head, abdomen and body. In our Language program, we have been learning all about opposites, synonyms, verb tenses and analogies. We are experts at writing sentences now as our program requires us to look at a picture and write what we see. From this, Miss Chagoury has spelling and

There were some fantastic music performances from the instrumental band and the drumming troupe. Even when the court lights failed, the show continued using car headlights! This was a great way to get the whole community together and support the students.

Mossman Gorge Tutoring Centre Aurukun Parents and community members had the opportunity to visit the centre and look at displays of students’ work. These included some traditional spears, grass skirts and bangles. After lunch, selected students were recognised for their attendance at

Term four in Miss Chagoury’s class we have all been working super hard to finish the Signature 1 program by the end of the school year. We are currently reading chapter stories about The Rabbit and the Turtle and Carla and Ott. We find these stories to be extremely engaging and very funny! We have built up our comprehension skills over the term and use these skills in our daily worksheets. Our daily worksheets are becoming more and more complex. We are reading information passages about insects and caves which we really enjoy.

The Coen students were recognised at the Coen Academy Awards for all their hard work throughout the year. About 200 community members gathered to celebrate their achievements in the attendance, academic, sporting and cultural realms. As the final piece for their Culture unit, students entertained the audience with stories that spanned the history of Coen, including the Rainbow Serpent, Removal and Mustering days.

On Thursday 13th December, the CYAAA Mossman Gorge tutoring centre held its inaugural awards day.

Guest Class Report from Miss Chagoury’s class, CYAAA Aurukun Campus

the tutoring centre as well as the gains they have made in numeracy and literacy.


Given that the centre has only been running for just over a term, these achievements were excellent. The afternoon ended with a corroboree performed by some of the male students and supported by Culture Tutor Jermane Herbohn and other Mossman Gorge and Kuranda community members.

The 2012 Wik Academy Awards were held at the Aurukun School Campus on Thursday 6th December. Students were recognised for their achievements throughout the year in attendance, numeracy, literacy and Club and Culture.

Guest Class Report from Miss Hoek’s class, CYAAA Coen Campus In term four the Prep / Year 1 children have learnt many new sounds in their reading lessons and are using this knowledge to read lots of interesting stories.

handwriting championships which we love to get involved in. We are proud to say that this year we have come a very long way. We started on the Signature K program, and we are now ending the 2012 school year at the end of the Signature 1 program.

We have even been making our own books by illustrating some of our favourite stories and adding them to our much loved book corner! In maths, we have been learning to count to 50, recognise teen numbers and we are getting very good at solving addition sums. All the Prep / Year 1 children have worked hard, learnt a lot and had lots of fun this term.

Aurukun Culture Camp: Learning on Country

They also entertained the audience with dances and plays from each of the five Wik Mungkan clan groups. A lot of work went into each performance. Students wrote their own scripts (based on stories from community members), made costumes, rehearsed and delivered their performances. They were well received by the audience of about 700 family and community members. Past Aurukun students, including seven year 12 graduates, were also recognised for their achievements at boarding school.

Hope Vale Campus Approximately 400 community members packed in and outside the PCYC hall to watch the Hope Vale Academy Awards. The audience enjoyed watching the students perform music and dance pieces as well as a Christmas play. Highlights included the instrumental music band playing jingle bells and other students showing how confident they were by remembering and performing lines. Many students also received awards for attendance, numeracy, literacy and Club and Culture. Thank you to everyone who supported the event.

Cape York News

Hope Vale Trivia Night Hope Vale residents put their thinking caps on for a night of laughs and trivia. Six groups from the community entered teams into a trivia night hosted by teacher Nicole Hammett to test their knowledge, problem solving and team work skills. The room was filled with enjoyment, paper airplanes, spaghetti towers and even at times some deep concentration. Two teams in a tie breaker battled it out on

local community questions to take home the winning title. The winners featured in the photograph received a fantastic prize pack donated by our local shop. With over $200 being raised on the night for the grade 7 graduation, a big thank you to all who came and made the night a highly enjoyable one. We look forward to sharing laughs and cakes again at our next event.

Cape York News

Cape York Partnerships 2012 Summary “Now my garden is one of a kind”

Looking back at 2012: • 80 per cent of the adult population in Aurukun have signed up to at least one Opportunity Product and 54 per cent of children have a Student Education Trust

Charmaine Harrigan and her family have set a very high standard with their Pride of Place (POP) garden in Rose Street, in ways that POP Enabler Rance Stafford says ‘can only be described as exemplary’. The family have not only planted and mulched their front gardens but have also created their own gardens around their new sun deck and shade sail area.

• 73 per cent of the adult population in Coen have signed up to at least one Opportunity Product and 124 per cent of children have a Student Education Trust • 52 per cent of the adult population in Hope Vale have signed up to at least one Opportunity Product and 54 per cent of children have a Student Education Trust • 167 per cent of the adult population in Mossman Gorge and Mossman Town have signed up to at least one Opportunity Product and 72 per cent of children have a Student Education Trust • 154 parents and extended family members across all communities have signed up to our parenting program It takes a village to raise a child following its launch in February 2012. As our partners’ satisfaction grows, so too does word of mouth. More and more, we find that partners are joining up to Opportunity Products after being referred to us by a family member or friend who has firsthand experience of the benefits that participation in our opportunities can bring.

“It takes a village to raise a child has helped me tremendously” Katrina Gibson has one son and she is expecting her second child. Katrina is actively engaged in It takes a village to raise a child, Student Education Trust and MPower. Katrina was eager to participate in It takes a village to raise a child so that she could learn new parenting skills. ‘I wanted to get help to discipline my son. But not only that, I wanted to also build up a relationship with him, be a better mother and learn to understand him.’ Strong Families taught Katrina how to talk to her son and grow their relationship. ‘Everthing has been easier since I did the parenting program’, she said. ‘Now if he does something bad I only have to talk to him in a calm way. When kids are only little, you have to talk to them so they don’t see you as a threat, so they feel comfortable and trust you. That’s the only way you can have a relationship with that child.’

Katrina has a daily routine to make sure her son goes to school every day. ‘I get up early every morning so I can get him ready for school. We have breakfast together, and then he has a bath and gives me a hug and a kiss before waiting for the school bus. He’s a really happy kid.’ Katrina successfully completed Strong Families and has voluntarily signed up to begin Baby College this year. As her son’s education is so important to Katrina, she signed him up to Student Education Trust. So far she has accessed his education trust to purchase uniforms and school sports equipment. Her goal is to save enough to cover all of his education costs and she has discussed increasing her fortnightly contribution with her MPower Coach. ‘It would be good for him. He only has a few more years in primary and by the time he gets into high school we’ll need a lot more to cover his expenses.’

“I’m learning to use my money wisely” Herbert Yunkaporta Senior has been an MPower member since the CYP money management program was launched in 2011. Soon after signing up, Herbert completed his four coaching sessions with an MPower Coach, and has been making wise financial decisions ever since.

it’s really great that I can do that now.’

Herbert is also a Wise Buys member and has recently finalised the purchase of a new washing machine. ‘I needed a washing machine so that I would be able to wash my clothes at home by myself. Everyone thinks

MPower has taught Herbert the value of effectively managing his money and saving for the items he really needs and to plan for the things he wants. ‘Next I think I might buy a truck to tow my boat to the landing.’

Cape York News

Through Wise Buys Herbert sourced a good quality, affordable washing machine from the local Aurukun store. ‘The shop delivered the washing machine for me and I got a free box of washing powder.’

‘My garden was really bare before and that’s why I signed up to POP. From the start I knew that I wanted something different from everyone else. Now I’m the first person in Hope Vale with a sun deck and a mosaic pathway. I’m really happy with everything we have done. Now my garden really stands out! My neighbours say that my garden is looking really great. I like to sit out there and look at what we’ve done.’ As part of her garden design, Charmaine wanted a pebbled pathway with a concrete base filled with a mosaic pebble design. The whole family got involved to create a unique design with white and black pebbles. The pathway is unlike any other garden feature completed through POP and something the family is really proud of. Families provide sweat equity on the construction of backyard elements and planting as part of the ‘Backyard Blitz’. Charmaine’s whole family banded together

to provide the sweat equity for the project, including Charmaine’s partner, her younger brother Jaden, nephew Kendall and son Anthony. ‘I’m really proud that the whole family came together to get this done. Teenage boys usually don’t want to get involved, but they really wanted to help out.’ The whole family is now enjoying their completed backyard project. ‘I’ve got three young kids and wanted a place where they could play and we could be together as a family. When the swing set was put up, the kids were out playing in the garden straight away.’

Local Indigenous POP Enablers Willie Gordon and Peter Gibson are impressed by the family’s enthusiasm and commitment to completing their ‘Backyard Blitz’. ‘The sweat equity from this family, both young and old, was incredible. They were there every day without fail.’ The youngsters Jaden, fourteen years old, and Kendall were so interested in the work they enquired about becoming POP Enablers in the future. ‘It would be really good to get young people from the community involved with POP for work experience,’ says Peter.

“Everyone thinks Student Education Trusts are a very good idea” May Kepple signed up as a donor to Student Education Trust in 2005, and has been making fortnightly contributions to her grandson Colin’s education trust. May signed up because she knew it would be easier for her to finance ongoing educational expenses. ‘I know students can get everything they need for school through Student Education Trust. When I was going to school I found it hard to get what I needed, like school shoes. Now that Colin has an account, I don’t go through stress about not having any money to buy anything for school.’ An education trust can be used to make a Wise Buys purchase using pre-paid credit cards managed by the local Hub staff. May has recently purchased a Boys’ Boarding School Pack, from Big W, that has all the bedding and toiletries Colin will need for the new school year at The Cathedral School in Townsville.

Colin was so proud to receive his Boarding School Pack that he un-wrapped his package straight away to investigate what he received. May is also an MPower member, having signed up to the money management program in 2012.

Great gardens POP up across the Cape

25-27 October 2012

Cape York Partnerships’ inaugural garden awards generated a buzz of excitement across the welfare reform communities as green thumbs competed against each other for the title of Best Garden in the Village 2012. Guest judges included Brendan Moar (television personality and landscape architect), David Kempton (Assistant Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Member for Cook), Richie Ah Mat (Chairman of the Cape York Land Council) and Ruth Oakden (Senior Chaplain and Second Step Program Manager at Toll Holdings Ltd).

Cape York News

Families embrace Family Week activities 2nd - 5th July and 2nd - 6th October 2012 From a ‘maintain your lawnmower’ workshop, to family portraits for their MPower Journey, individuals and families in Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge participated in Family Week from 2-5 July.

Cape York Leaders Program offers four targeted phases that aim to build member’s leadership capabilities at various stages of life and at distinctive capacities. Best of luck to our new CYLP students who are commencing in 2013 Year 8 • Melanie Conrad • Colin Kepple • Melekai Williams • Kyiesha Zaro • Tatyana King- Smith • Ileisa Nadrdre • Tynequa Kemp • Natara Michael • Craig Googleye • Shiquea Creek

MPower Journey family photos Family photos are a treasured item for most, so it was no surprise that as part of the Family Week, 170 individuals smiled for the camera as part of their MPower Journey.

Year 9 • Quintin Gowa Year 10 • Elisha Tamwoy • Malik Creed- Mueller • Koby Frazer • Schascle Bassani

Academic Leaders Secondary students come from Cape York communities and orbit to secondary schools in Cairns, Townsville, Charters Towers, Rockhampton and Brisbane. Our partner schools are regarded as the best academic schools in Queensland and are committed to providing the best learning environment for our students to achieve excellence.

Academic Leaders Secondary Camp

Student Education Trust Fair With more than $4,000 spent at the Student Education Trust fair, the value of goodquality, educational books and resources is clear. The fair provided SET participants with an opportunity to make purchases using their SET with qualified advice on suitability of resources. Lawnmower workshop The Pride of Place lawnmower workshop saw men and women alike learning skills to keep their mowers running. More than 30 lawnmowers, a whippersnipper and even a ride-on mower were brought along for their owners to learn some new skills.

Hope Vale banana farm funding Home Ownership in boosts job opportunities Hope Vale

More local jobs, training opportunities and business activity will flow from a $368,000 investment by the Newman Government in Hope Vale’s new banana farm. Visiting the plantation, Premier Campbell Newman said the operation could create up to 40 new full-time jobs and underpin sustainable employment for the community.

Member for Cook David Kempton said after the success of a trial crop last year, the farm had now been planted out with 50,000 plants, with plans to have twice that many when the farm was in full production.

‘The first commercial crop will be ready for harvest and processing on site in the middle of this year,’ Mr Kempton said.

‘Our primary objective is to create sustainable employment in Hope Vale by creating training, employment and business enterprise opportunities in the local area,’ Mr Newman said.

‘As well as the permanent jobs on the farm, high school and boarding students in Cooktown will benefit from school-based vocational training and casual employment opportunities it creates.

‘The Hope Vale banana farm will bring direct employment opportunities at the farm, and also support emerging enterprise in the horticulture sector and associated businesses in the local community.

‘In the past, the majority of Hope Vale students have not had access to school-based vocational training or to a casual job over the school holidays, so the farm is bringing benefits to all members of the local community.’

‘This funding will be used to buy equipment to bring the crop to maturity and to help with harvesting and processing.

The funding has been provided as part of the Cape York Welfare Reform Trial, a partnership between the Queensland and Australian Governments and the Cape York Institute across the four communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge.

‘Jobs for local people and boosting local businesses will help create a real and sustainable economy in Hope Vale.’

Cape York News

Congratulations to Hope Vale resident Cheryl Cannon on becoming the first Queenslander to receive a Home Ownership on Indigenous Land loan to buy her own home. The loan was approved last year by the Australian Government’s Indigenous Business Australia. Home Ownership has been a goal of Indigenous people for a long time. Cheryl is building a new home on a freehold residential subdivision, Hope Valley Estate, which is located just outside of Hope Vale. Cheryl has advised she plans to start a Facebook page to chronicle the construction of her three bedroom house. The Australian Government provided over $7.5milion to support the development of Hope Valley Estate into freehold residential subdivision. Residents from Hope Vale can apply to the Council to purchase a lot of land to construct a house. Enabling home ownership is a key objective of the Cape York Welfare Reforms.

Surfing, kayaking, high-ropes and indoor rock climbing were just some of the activities undertaken during the four day action packed annual Leadership camp. This year’s camp took place at Tallebudgera Recreational Centre at Palm Beach. Staff and supervisors from the Academic Leaders Tertiary program, plus 57 students braved the wild weather on the Gold Coast to kick start the school year feeling motivated and ready to learn. The annual camp is a highlight for students to interact and connect with CYLP staff, tertiary students and unite as a team. It is an opportunity to prepare for the school year and review the programs expectations. It is important especially for our 15 new students to understand what is expected of them as part of the scholarship program and recognise our commitment to supporting and encouraging every student.

their experience of leaving and returning to their communities. There is an amazing ripple effect occurring in our leadership program where we now see members becoming great leaders and passing their leadership skills onto the next generation. Students were inspired and challenged through leadership sessions, team building, trivia and a very entertaining talent night. Community groups impressed the audience with their performances in singing, hip-hop, rap and traditional dance, and we even saw champion yo-yoing.

We have a very talented group of secondary students and they are who they are because of their families. We were proud of how well our students conducted themselves. We were pleased to have both Cape York Institute’s CEO, Fiona Jose, and Head of Leadership, James Fa’Aoso, attend the camp and share their passion and commitment to the program and its members. Thank you to Tracey Burrell for organising this years’ camp. We wish CYLP secondary students all the best in their studies in 2013.

We were proud to see tertiary students, who had gone through secondary school step up and take the lead, share their stories of school time, orbiting between two worlds and

Cape York News

Constitution Reform

Young traditional leader joins Cairns Regional Operations Centre as Indigenous Engagement Officer

2013 is kicking off with some interesting developments in national discussions about Indigenous recognition in the Australian Constitution. CYI is continuing its research, policy development and advocacy in this area.

Leona Yunkaporta joined the Cairns ROC in May 2012 as the Indigenous Engagement Officer (IEO) for Aurukun. Leona is from the Wanum Clan on her father’s side and Apalech Clan on her mother’s side. Leona speaks fluent Wik Mungkan and is much attuned to her cultural obligations in her community.

On the 6th, February Noel Pearson spoke passionately about the importance of constitutional reform to a group of Cape York traditional owners at an information session in Cairns. The event was organised by Balkanu and supported by Recognise, the organisation leading the national campaign.

Leona has completed two years of her teaching degree and has a keen interest in youth engagement in her community and recently participated in the inaugural Eric Deeral Indigenous Youth Leadership Program in Brisbane. Leona sees her role as very critical as she interfaces with her community about what government is doing to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage as well as progress on the Cape York Welfare Reform Trial. Leona believes that education is key to the development of her community. Leona hopes that her contribution to her community as an IEO is valuable and rewarding, and feels that government can benefit from her knowledge as a community member.

Noel emphasised the importance of addressing the extreme minority status of Indigenous Australians within the Australian population and the political disempowerment that this creates within the political system. He also advocated removing ‘race’ and racial discrimination from the Constitution. He described the discriminatory concept of ‘race’, and the effect it has on the way people view each other and themselves, as Indigenous Australians’ “Number One Problem”. Noel then argued that achieving bipartisan and especially conservative political support was essential for a successful referendum. Tim Gartrell, the Campaign Director for Recognise, spoke to attendees about the campaign process and the Parliamentary

Standing Committee that has been put together to progress the political process to a referendum. CYI policy team member, Shireen Morris, spoke about the history of the Constitution, the current problems with it and the way specific provisions operate, and then explained the Expert Panel’s recommendations. Shireen argued that the Constitution needed to be changed for two reasons: for Indigenous recognition, and for equality before the law. The event generated lots of energetic discussion. Cape York attendees called for more similar information sessions to be conducted in communities. Parliment recently passed the bill for the act of recognition. Both the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, expressed their support for Indigenous constitutional recognition. The team at CYI are more passionate than ever about recognition of Indigenous peoples in the Constitution, and the removal of racial discrimination. We are continuing our research and advocacy into the next stages of this process. Visit the CYI website to see our publications on constitutional reform, and also check out for more information.

Taskforce meeting The third Turtle and Dugong Taskforce meeting was held on 5th February 2013 at the Cairns Colonial Club, providing another opportunity for regional representatives to share the great work they are doing on country. Growing concern over turtle and dugong affairs in Australia and the Pacific has prompted regional Indigenous communities to regain authority over turtle and dugong management in the Cape York Peninsula. The meeting provided another chance for Balkanu and Taskforce members to reaffirm project objectives and discuss their progress. Representatives exchanged information and learned about what each community is doing, with the hope of further improving existing management mechanisms. Taskforce member Marie Shipton gave a presentation on turtle monitoring in Mon

Repos. Larissa Hale talked about Archer Point Turtle Rescue and Release turtle nest removal and protection initiatives. Christo Lifu presented current works and plans of Apudthama Land and Sea Rangers, and Gary Liu made a guest appearance to discuss the Queensland Strategic Policy Group. Mike Winer from Cape York Institute presented on the current activities being undertaken to look at long term sustainable funding for Cape York communities in managing their sea country. Community representatives were introduced to Daniel Twikler, Balkanu’s new Legal Officer, and Balkanu’s Intern Emma Wellington gave Taskforce members a window into the world initiatives in community based management for turtle and dugong stock.

responsibility and action. Each community will set out their own management plans which will act as input for one main regional turtle and dugong management plan. The meeting was a great success, with all participants later dividing into workshop groups, encouraging equal opportunity for input and making sure that everyone’s voice is heard.

Community representatives are working towards taking individual and collective

If you would like to contribute please contact: Cape York Welfare Reform Program Office Level 3, 139 Grafton Street, Cairns QLD 4870 PO Box 3099, Cairns QLD 4870 Phone: (07) 40 460 600 • Fax: (07) 40 460 601 • Email:

Cape York News

Cape York News