Entry 1: Out of Our Comfort Zones

I feel a bit apprehensive because I don’t know what to expect. I have never been to a remote community before so am interested in finding out what some of the struggles are. I know remote communities can be expensive.

My name is Coby Mitchell I am a Paakantji wimpatja. I have been working out at Mungo with my Mum helping to protect Aboriginal Cultural Heritage since I was three years old.

I am currently doing year 10 at Irymple Secondary College and this trip I am using as part of my year 10 work experience.

I’m excited about seeing and learning the stories of the rock art and how their stories might be different to others.

I feel a bit apprehensive because I don’t know what to expect. I have never been to a remote community before so am interested in finding out what some of the struggles are. I know remote communities can be expensive.

I am hoping I get a welcome to country by the local Aboriginal community and meet some of the Elders and young fullas my age. My step Dad and I have some gifts to give the community that has been made by my Uncle from the Mulga wood where I come from.

Entry 2: Experiences and Challenges

I was proud to do an exchange of gifts with Rob from my Country to the Barunga community. As I wanted them to know I needed to feel safe being there but also in my traditions you share gifts when you go onto someone else’s country to show respect…

It’s the middle of the week and I’m loving being here. I have been hanging out with my new mate Paddy and learning lot’s from him. I have been given my skin name and am learning how I am connected to everyone here in the camp and the people we meet when going out through the day. I’m an only child so learning that I have lots of brothers through the skin system is really cool.

I was proud to do an exchange of gifts with Rob from my Country to the Barunga community. As I wanted them to know I needed to feel safe being there but also in my traditions you share gifts when you go onto someone else’s country to show respect and that you are their only if they allow you to be.

My highlight so far has been going to the rock art site at Drupney where I could see the old peoples stories passed down through the art on the rock face. Paddy also shared a dreamtime story with me about the Porcupine and Turtle.

Everyone is friendly and I’m enjoying my time here even with the camp dogs that I have started to de-tick.

Entry 3: Take Away Thoughts

I am grateful for all the knowledge I have gained and will continue to build on by staying in contact with the community for many years to come.

The week has gone fast and we are packing up our camp and heading off today. I’m sad because I don’t want to leave Paddy and will miss him but Mum gave me some money to buy him a phone so we can keep in contact through snapchat and Instagram. I handed in my daily journals and received a good mark and have been tested on the skin system. It was hard to remember all the skin names but I did ok. I want to come back and see everyone when the Barunga festival is on next year, it’s my new goal I have set. I am grateful for all the knowledge I have gained and will continue to build on by staying in contact with the community for many years to come. I’ve had lots of great experiences from helping to cook and serve food to the most senior people in the community to tasting wild honey and turtle.