“Resort Telfer” Comes alive for Western Desert kids

20161118_104049Ngurra Kujungka’s meaning is ‘coming together as one’ and, in a first for the organisation, three community schools came together as one at Telfer to compete in a day of interschool sporting competition.

Parnngurr, Punmu and Kunawarritji travelled the dusty roads to find an oasis waiting for them in the form of the Telfer Gold Mine’s swimming pool. While Punmu school kids are regular visitors for swimming lessons at Telfer, the experience was an all-new one for the kids from Parnngurr and Kunawarritji.

After a good sleep and stomachs full of food and a little ice-cream courtesy of Telfer’s “all you can eat” buffet, the Parnngurr kids were first into the pool to kick off a big day of sporting activities.

Off & Racing!!!AUSTSWIM, a strong supporter and partner of Ngurra Kujungka, once again provided a swimming instructor for the day to enable the children to refine their sometimes erratic river swimming techniques.

With Punmu and Kunawarritji’s arrival, all eyes were aimed at checking out each other’s opposition for the upcoming battles to claim bragging rights as Best School. Punmu and Kunawarritji were soon in the pool for a quick lesson while Parnngurr headed to the basketball courts for a quick pick-up game.

When fruit and sandwiches came out for lunch, the kids’ minds soon shifted to the interschool carnival. Kicking off the competition would be a basketball tournament before finishing in the pool for a series of races.

After some classic games and moves not seen since the great Michael Jordan graced the courts, a bigger and taller-bodied Parnngurr team prevailed in the basketball tournament. Fist pumps and high-fives signalled the joy in getting one over their rival communities.

A last-minute footy game was organised as the Punmu and Kunawarritji kids sought revenge. In the overcast afternoon mugginess, 20 minutes of AFL saw Punmu come out smiling with a four-goal to two-goal victory. Attention then turned to the pool to finish of an already successful day.

Age groups were set and race categories explained as all three communities swam their hearts out to secure wins for their schools. Highlights included some superb swimming in the high school girls 25m freestyle and the little kids trying to stay on their pool noodles in the horsey dash.

In a close carnival, all schools won races and shared in the glory. To finish of the day, prizes were awarded to the Best and Fairest Girls and Boys from each school.

The final day of Parnngurr and Kunawarritji’s visit saw Ngurra Kujungka provide some education opportunities for the kids.

Samantha Cooke, Telfer’s Active Life Coach, began the day with a talk on the importance of nutrition, healthy eating and exercise.

img_1775 20161118_085236After all the exercise the kids had enjoyed over the previous two days, it was determined that they had just burnt up all the ice-cream they had consumed.

Next up was Michael MacMahon, Newcrest’s Community Relations Liaison Officer, to talk with the kids about employment opportunities at Telfer and the importance of getting a good education to obtain a career at Telfer. Michael’s was valuable lesson for all in attendance, especially a few of the older boys who had expressed an interest in mining.

To conclude what had been a hugely successful visit to Telfer, Parnngurr and Kunawarritji were treated to a mine site tour organised by Telfer’s Open Pit Operations. The kids were wide-eyed as they stood in a 16-tonne digger bucket and overlooked the Open Pit, commenting how the giant trucks looked like ants from that far up.

On departure, seeing the smiles on faces and weary bodies trudge up the bus stairs showed everyone had put in big effort and had enjoyed a great time.

Ngurra Kujungka thanks Newcrest Mining, ESS, Telfer Community Relations and Open Pit operations for all their support in making the visit so successful.

About the author

Callan

Senior Indigenous Sports Development Officer