Gold Dukes Residential Project – Tiwi Island

Gold Dukes Residential Project – Tiwi Island

After a break of nearly three years, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we were recently fortunate enough to resume taking Gold Dukes students to Bathurst Island, one of the two Tiwi Islands 80 kilometres north of Darwin, for their Gold Dukes Residential Project. We were thrilled that our Principal, Ms McEvoy, was able to join the group. Eleven Gold Dukes participants and staff departed Adelaide on Monday 31 July at 5:30am(!) to fly to Darwin and then board two small planes to fly over to the Tiwi Islands. SAC has been travelling to Tiwi for over a decade, during which time we have visited and supported the good work of 2017 Senior Australian of the Year, Sister Anne Gardiner, on the island.

Sister Anne is a Daughter of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. In 1953 when she was just 22 years old, Sister Anne was asked to move to Bathurst Island to live and work among the First Nations peoples of Tiwi, to whom she has devoted her life.

The students worked with the local staff of the Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic Primary School where they interacted and socialised with the primary students and participated in an excursion with a Year 6 class to the Ranku waterhole and assisting in the school’s sports day. Below, our students reflect on their ventures and experiences.

Mr Alan Brown & Ms Libby Butterworth
Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Coordinators

Tiwi reflection by the Gold Dukes Students

“Our trip to Tiwi has been nothing short of amazing. After landing on Bathurst Island, we were overwhelmed with the love and hospitality that we were shown by the Tiwi community.

Our staff and students were welcomed to MCPS through a whole school assembly, and shortly after we were off on an excursion to Ranku Waterhole with the year six class. This waterhole was just one example of the many stunning sites we were able to visit in Tiwi.

Sister Anne, who has a long-standing connection with the St Aloysius community, invited us to her home where we shared a meal and learnt about her impact on the Tiwi Island community, such as her service to the local schools and creation of the Tiwi museum. She is such an inspiration to us all.

We are grateful for the opportunity to travel to Tiwi island and the insight this has given us into the Tiwi community and our ability to make positive impacts on the world. This experience has been extremely eye opening which has given us a deeper understanding and empathy for others. We will continue to remember the amazing connections we have formed with the community for many years to come.

We would like to especially express our gratitude and thanks to Ms Butterworth and Mr Brown for all their hard work and organisation to make this adventure possible for us.”