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2016 Trip to the Kimberley

June of 2016 marked WEST’s annual trip to the Kimberley to visit communities and schools in search of scholarship candidates for the following year, 2017 in this case. We have been doing this since 2010, seven years! The trip usually lasts for ten days to two weeks, depending on the time available. On several occasions, staff from The Peninsula School – now called Peninsula Grammar (we must remember the name change) – have accompanied us. It is always a trip that we look forward to.

This time, Judy came with me and we drove over 2000km in 8 days and visited 14 schools. It was pretty hectic but as stimulating and challenging as ever. For the first time we drove right across the Kimberley, from west to east and it was the first time that we had been to the Fitzroy Crossing region. We visited four new schools: Looma, Fitzroy Valley District High School, Wangkatjungka, and Ngalipita (pronounced Nallabida).

There is absolutely no substitute for visiting the Kimberley and the schools. It provides an insight into the way of life and the challenges that remote communities face that simply could not be obtained otherwise. For example: Two and a half hours to drive to Fitzroy Crossing or Derby just to go shopping. To get to Ngalipita you must ford the mighty Fitzroy River. They take their cars out in November and don’t bring them back until the river has gone down in March or April! The teachers are awesome – tough, resourceful and dedicated.

And it was a successful trip. Stevon from Looma was awarded a WEST scholarship starting in Year 8 in 2017 and many potential candidates were identified for future years.