Over the June/July break, 19 students from the College took part in an Indigenous immersion program with our partners at Red Earth. The group travelled to Far North Queensland to experience a very different way of living in our incredible country. Through our partnership with Red Earth, we were able to offer the opportunity for indigenous elders to share their stories and experiences by inviting young people on to traditional homelands. In taking part, BBC students were welcomed to Country and experienced unparalleled access to sacred places and the traditional owners of that area.

The boys began their journey at Battle Camp homeland, beyond Mossman, in the foothills of the ancient Daintree River. Here, they were treated to some traditional dance and music as part of their welcome, and learned the famous ‘shake a leg’. The group was also engaged in traditional spear making, and allowed to fossick for fresh water mussels in traditional hunting spots. The boys were able to spend an evening identifying some of the night sky stories, including a lesson in the Dark Emu. A highlight was the comradery between boys and our wonderful traditional owner hosts, who gave willingly of their time and stories.

From the Daintree Village, boys travelled across the Daintree River to Cape Tribulation; an incredible and picturesque landscape where the rainforest truly meets the sea. This trip delivered us to remote aboriginal community, Wujal Wujal, where the boys engaged with young children from the community in a range of activities, as well as visiting the local radio station, Women’s Art Centre and Library. The boys also met with the town’s Mayor to discuss the particular challenges faced by such a remote community. The stunning Wujal Wujal falls was the sight of a special ceremony, before we made the 14km trek to traditional homeland of Buru.

At Buru, boys completed a service project, creating form work and concreting the Healing Centre, as well as completing work on a set of stairs and creating a BBQ area at the beautiful Meg Falls. Finally, at Buru, boys were able to hike further to the sacred Caterpillar Dreaming sight where they were initiated as part of a traditional ceremony conducted by charismatic host and traditional elder, CJ. A final day was spent at Cape Tribulation, where we were able to travel to a remote part of the Great Barrier Reef.

Under the guidance of Mr Sean Riordan and Ms Lacey Smith, the trip was a truly unforgettable experience for the boys involved. Students were able to connect with traditional owners, each other and nature, deepening their understanding of our extraordinary Indigenous people and their history, and sharing reflections and learnings each night around the campfire (prompted even further by the absence of mobile phones for 10 days). What an amazing experience! Well done to the students who volunteered for this extraordinary experience. They were a credit to their families and the College. We look forward to further trips in the future.

Mr Sean Riordan