Cady's South Australia Experience

During Term 1, 21 students from Year 10, 11 and 12 were presented with the opportunity to attend a Camps International Tour to South Australia to live among the Scotdesco Indigenous Community. Cady Hewitt, Year 10 provides her reflection of the experience.

The Indigenous study tour was an amazing chance for students to explore and learn about Aboriginal culture, history, and daily life within an Indigenous community. On the Friday of week 9, term 1, 21 QACI students took up the opportunity to live amongst the Scotdesco community. While a week may sound like a long time, I can only say for me the entire camp flew by with days spent laughing with friends by the campfire and living within Australia’s unique and stunning nature.

Everyone had to be at the airport early and bleary eyed before 6am as we set off on the 5-hour plane journey, switching planes in Adelaide, to land at Port Lincoln airport. From Port Lincoln we travelled by minibus to the Scotdesco campsite. A dozen bathroom breaks, 1 beach stop, 1 massive pizza pickup and about 10 hours’ worth of listening to 80’s artists later, we arrived at the campsite ready to open our minds to the fun activities in store for us…

The next morning (thank goodness they let us sleep in) we had a chance to take in the beautiful surroundings and meet the members of the community we would be staying with. We received an introduction to what Scotdesco is all about and the exciting things that were in store for us. The grounds were created with the aim to make a self-sustained community offering employment for local Indigenous people and a way of sharing and keeping their culture alive. The community mainly works on growing saltbush, a plant with numerous benefits for the environment which can be turned into flour, ultimately giving back to the land, an important cultural way of living for the First Nations peoples and Australians as a whole. After the initial introduction we were then able to learn the various traditional roles of men and woman within the community. Half of us learnt to make bush medicine, going off campus to harvest Eremophila leaves and cook them into an ointment, while the other half learnt how to carve and paint boomerangs. Later that day, we got to relax and enjoy creating aboriginal dot art, being shown indigenous symbols and their meanings.

During the third day, we drove down to the Great Australian Bight where we had the pleasure of spotting dolphins swimming through the ocean. We explored trails, trying not to slip in the endless mud (not all of us made it…Cameron) and ventured into old caves where we could see the faint remains of Aboriginal wall art. The relaxing evenings were never short of fun, where we would have spare time to play basketball, have card games by the fire and chat with our friends.

Over the course of the next two days, we made pottery and went to the beach and journaling on the jetty. One of the coolest things I think we learnt was some of the Indigenous language of the local community. The language itself is very interesting and unique, as well as the different sentence structure used. Unfortunately, it is also slowly dying. We discussed different ways we could spread and keep it alive, such as teaching it at school and putting it on road signs beneath the English words.  Another highlight to the trip was planting the saltbush. It felt nice to be able to give something back to the community and the beautiful environment we were in. After dark we went wombat hunting and although I wasn’t lucky enough to see any wombats that night I was in awe at the endless sky of stars and the silence that took place once everyone turned off their torches and stopped talking.

On the fifth day we went down to Clare Beach and collected seashells to decorate dream catchers with. The view was fantastic and the water so clear. Afterwards we drove out into the bushland and watched the process of preparing kangaroo tails to cook over an open fire. As the tails were roasting, we searched the area for wombat holes, passing stunning plants and finding animal bones. When we got back from our walk, we got to feast on the kangaroo tails before heading back to the grounds to enjoy making dream catchers or working on unfinished artwork.

The final day in South Australia came far too soon. We started off the day driving down towards a collection of sand dunes, stopping by at the Penong Windmill museum, where they have the largest windmill in Australia. We also stopped by at the pink salt rock lake. At the sand dunes we spent time rolling down the slopes and identifying animal tracks. We also found out how to find fresh water near the lake by looking for a certain plant and digging beneath it. That afternoon we drove down to the beach for a barbeque lunch. Once we were back at the campsite, we made damper and were told to get an early night for the flight tomorrow, of which pretty much nobody did, instead playing hide and seek, tag, and stuck in the mud, knowing this would be our final night here and not wanting it to be over. 

Overall, I think we can all give a massive thank you to the Scotdesco community for educating us on their culture and giving us the most amazing week and to Mr McKinven for organising the tour with Camps International. I know this trip, with all the memories and bonds made, are going to stay with all of us for a long time, as well as all the significant knowledge I gained as an Australian.

Cady Hewitt, Year 10

We hope you are enjoying reading our ‘Footsteps on the Ground’ series.  If you would like to share your own experiences we would love to hear from you.

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