In 2013 a relationship between Alphington Primary School and Hope Vale State School in Cape York, Far North Queensland was developed. This was the beggining of a partnership based on cross cultural connections and the establishment of reciprocal biannual tours.
This year’s tour invloved 12 students, 2 staff and 5 parents travelling to Hope Vale State School. Those who were fortunate enough to attend, had an experience of a life time encompassing the spirit of NAIDOC; Learn, Respect and Celebrate. In consultation with tour operator Roger de Vos of Culture Connect, an itinerary to maximise educational opportunities was formalised with an emphasis on Aboriginal culture and the exploration of the pristine environment and sacred sites in Far North Queensland.
Our students enthusiastically engaged in many activities during our stay with the local children. Sport was the universal language and all students played together before the school bell. APS students joined in a two hour literacy block across a range of levels, a Guugu Yimithirr language lesson with Elder and Linguist, Mrs Lillian Bowen and ate the tuck shop meals provided daily to the Hope Vale students. It was warming to hear our APS students ask “when are we going back to the school?” whenever we went on day trips.
Highlights at the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival included entering as part of the HV community convoy, setting up camp with the student performers and staff in the special area assigned close to the corroboree ground. The group witnessed the preparations and dance practices with 5000 festival goers, including performers from across Cape York and the Torres Strait communities in a traditional dance challenge.
Other highlights of the trip included Mud crabbing and cooking, visiting birthing caves and rock art sacred to Elder Willie Gordon, being sung into Kuku Yalanji country in language by Elder Aunty Kathleen and participating in a painting workshop with renowned artist Binna at Janbal Gallery. The educational guided walks through the Daintree Rainforest at Cape Tribulation and Mossman were magic. Snorkelling on the reef at Green Island was a delightful experience for all.
In 2014, a Year 5 Philanthropy team responded to the impacts of Cyclone Ita by sourcing sporting equipment following the loss of the school sport shed. 22 netballs, 56 rugby balls and 60 new skipping ropes were donated to the school.
In December 2014 and 20 students and 5 teachers from Hope Vale School visited Alphington PS. The Year 5 Philanthropy team were involved in fund raising and planned the visit, showing our visitors our wonderful city and its many cultural differences.