Read what students and teachers have said about our Immersion Programs!
Elise, Stuartholme School, Year 10
“Red Earth was an amazing experience. I met new people, made relationships that will last forever, it opened my eyes to nature and cultural awareness. Overall my experience was unbelievably incredible and I learnt so many things about myself, nature, culture, education, and relationships. I find myself extremely privileged to have experienced the journey with the Red Earth mob!”
Louise, Brigidine Randwick, Year 10
“The time spent at the Immersion were so far the best experiences of my life. Having the opportunity to experience remote Indigenous cultures first hand was both eye opening and fulfilling. I would definitely attend another Immersion if the opportunity comes by again.”
Alex, Shore School, Year 10
“It was a very interesting and thought provoking journey, which provided me with lots of new experiences which are hard to come by normally. A good first-hand immersion in a part of Indigenous Australian culture not usually seen or heard of in day to day life.”
Sybila, International Grammar School, Year 10
“It was a life-changing experience. If you ever get the chance to take part in a Red Earth Connections trip, please take it. It was an excellent bonding experience and a chance to learn about our country.”
Jared, Shore School, Year 10
“The immersion was a very interesting experience. It was gratifying to be able to help the Aboriginal people in any way I could. In addition, the time spent with the group was very worthwhile”
Erin, Brigidine Randwick, Year 10
“A once in a lifetime opportunity to not only learn about Indigenous culture but also about yourself. Unforgettable and enlightening.”
Sam, Sydney Grammar School, Year 10
“It was a fantastic and worthwhile trip into the unknown! I learnt a lot about myself and Aboriginal culture and had a brilliant and enjoyable time doing it.”
Megan, Brigidine Randwick, Year 11
Words can honestly not describe the immersion. It was hands down the best holiday I have ever had and I will never ever forget it!!
Jess, International Grammar School, Year 10
“The immersion was such an amazing and unique opportunity and I will never forget this wonderful experience. It not only benefited their community but also ours.”
Anthony, St. Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace, Year 10
“An overall enjoyable experience. Although there were challenging times (e.g. the hike) it was worth it for the overall experience and what I learnt about Aboriginal culture”
Nikki, Brigidine Randwick, Year 10
“It was a time to open my mind and heart to a new environment, people and experience. i got the chance to further explore the oldest living culture and their beliefs, traditions. I gained a greater knowledge of myself and my culture and from this i have grown into a person with a greater sense of leadership and wisdom.”
Jonothan, Sydney Grammar School, Year 10
“It was a really great experience that allowed us to immerse with Indigenous Australians. It was also an opportunity for us to help out those who really appreciate the help”
Tom, Nudgee College, Year 10
“I loved learning about Aboriginal culture, improving the facilities at Buru, and meeting different people with different stories”
Maiya, International Grammar School, Year 9
“It was amazing the over only a few days, I, and probably the rest of the Red Earth Team, can say that the relationships we managed to build with the children of the community were irreplaceable and unforgettable.”
Maggie, Brigidine Randwick, Year 11
The immersion in Central Australia was the best experience I have ever had in my life. Red Earth knew all the places to go to which meant that we were able to gain the most out of the experience as possible. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.
Dr Timothy Wright, Headmaster, Shore:
“The stunning beauty of the region was the first impact as well as the warmth of the welcome we received. I really enjoyed the time we spent with the local people, watching the boys learning new things as well as their teamwork and support of each other. The afternoon swims in the river, the music and the conversational evenings were all deeply enjoyed and allowed me as Headmaster to get to know my boys in a much better and open environment. I really feel I knew them well and having seen them in action I can make much better judgements about their leadership capacities. The Immersion Leaders were delightful, self-sacrificial leaders who wanted to work hard and give encouragement. The boys loved them.”
Mrs Christine Clarke, Deputy Principal, All Hallows’ School:
“Detailed risk assessment and attention to safety and potential hazards is as much a priority in this context as in any other. Teachers, Red Earth staff and students alike need to be alert risks at all times. Regular safety briefings occur throughout the immersion in response to the particular characteristics of different places and activities. Groups carry emergency first aid, there is a vehicle available close by at all times and there is access to medical help via satellite phone as needed. The environment of the immersion is not always predictable. What is predictable is that the staff are highly attuned to changing circumstances and they are well equipped to ensure that safety is always a priority.”
Mrs. Dale Morrow, Principal, St Rita’s College:
“I would like to share with you the experiences presented by the senior girls who attended the Cape York immersion.
Saturday the 21st of September 13 students along with Mrs Morrow, Mrs O’Kane, Mrs Edwards and Mrs Fordyce travelled to Cairns for St Rita’s first Cape York Immersion organised by Red Earth Connections. After the early morning flight we met our Trip Leaders Kate and Jun, and the three students and staff who joined us from the presentation school of St Mary’s in Hobart. We then embarked on a 4 ½ hour journey on our bus taming the dusty roads, waterways and Hunters Lane sized slopes in our mini bus. Along the way we stopped for a Crocodile Tour where we met one of the older Crocodiles, Fiona and embraced the beautiful landscapes as we stopped at a local lookout and Cape Tribulation.
Upon arrival to the homeland of Bana Yarralji we were warmly welcomed by the Elder, Marilyn and her family. The next morning we were officially welcomed to country with a smoke ceremony to alert ancestors that we were guests and asked for them to protect us. We were also very privileged to be taken on a guided tour around country as Marilyn shared with us the traditional ways of the Bana community and their connection with the land. For the next three days were dedicated to building a chicken coop for the community. After participating in Secret Woman’s Business we sat down on our final day with Marilyn’s family to enjoy a traditional feast with the Bana community.
After five days immersed within the Bana community it became very difficult to pack our bags and say goodbye, especially to the kids with whom we had formed special friendships with having spent hours playing tiggy, dodge ball and piggy in the middle. Saying our final goodbyes, we set off to Elims Beach, located in Cape Bedford which is home to the Thiithaar-warra community. Along the way we stopped off at Black Mountain, Cook’s Lookout and Hope Vale where we visited their local school and arts centre. Our spirits were high and not even our bus being bogged could destroy our excitement to visit the coastal Aboriginal community. After a small trek on foot we reached the beautiful coast of North Queensland and were greeted by the chief Elder, Eddie, his son Ivan and cousin Robbie. For the next two days we were taught how to make spears and even got the opportunity to go spear fishing ourselves. Additionally, we climbed the coloured sands, walked along the pristine beaches and laid beneath the stars every night. On our final day, it was very difficult to say goodbye to the serenity of the coastal community.
The purpose of the Cape York immersion really was to immerse ourselves in a culture we were not very familiar with and wanted to learn more about. The Aboriginal culture is one that is so close to home yet is misinterpreted and ignored by many Australians. This immersion really allowed us to gain insight into a small area of indigenous homelands and to experience firsthand the diversity of lifestyles present in Australia, especially in regards to the traditional owners of this land. What we really were encouraged to do on this trip was to embrace the lifestyle of the aboriginal people and at the same time, help out and provide them with a sustainable resource such as the chicken coop which we constructed for the Bana community. We were privileged to meet elders of the two different communities as well as their families, and they shared their stories; both personal and dreamtime of their land with us, enriching us with precious information so vital to be heard. From Bana to Elim Beach we accomplished our purpose. We built a chicken coop, learnt and experienced things we cannot do in our suburban lives, laughed until we could laugh no more, and made connections with the people and the Land that we will have forever.
The Cape York immersion provided each and every girl with their own individual experience, however, there proved a common message that we all ended up sharing. The reason the indigenes move back to the homelands is to ensure their culture does not silently disappear. The art, language and stories of their ancestors are so important to keep alive and they want to share these things with us to be able to do so. The true essence of this experience was being able to hear and learn from the traditional ways of the aboriginal people, stories and skills that they had learnt from their ancestors which were then so willingly shown and taught to us for the sake of keeping such culture alive.
The immersion to Cape York taught us very valuable lessons and saw us meeting our preconceptions and prejudices, our kindness and determination, and our best and worst self. Firstly, we learnt the importance of family and community. Marilyn told us one night just how important family is to her as she said, ‘I am a poor lady, but I am happy with my life with my family. If I was rich but did not have my family, I would be sad and lifeless.” Consequently, we realised the materialistic nature of society we find ourselves bound by in the city. It taught us to be thankful for what we do have and not dwell on what we don’t have, which in most cases, we really don’t need. Secondly, we learnt about the struggles that are prominent in the Aboriginal communities regarding health and education, however, we realised that the Aboriginals choose not to let that define them, rather ask and work for change. We realised to develop solutions indigenous and non-indigenous hands need to come together to work towards a common goal towards developing solutions to the problems the indigenous face because as Marilyn said ‘we are all Australian’. Thirdly, we learnt the aboriginal word “Yalada” which means life is good. This is an outlook which we have all been able to bring back to our own homes and lives. Hence, we strongly recommend the Cape York Immersion as it truly is a life-changing, rewarding and fun adventure as you immerse yourself in communities where the pillars of simplicity, hospitality and compassion are at the forefront. This was our journey. Yalada.”