Friday, September 26, 2008

The Gold Outback, A Dog Movie Star, The School of the Air, and a Reunited Mother and Daughter

bush Today returning from the Gold Outback Bush Country to Kilgoorlie, WA I visited a different kind of school, and witnessed two other unique opportunities.

From Kilgoorlie to Marapoi Station is about 150 km (two hours?) of driving in which one encounters maybe a dozen oncoming drivers at most. With the exception of a single town of about 80 people and dozens of kangaroo road-kill carcasses on the side of the road (at least!), there is absolutely no one dwelling along the way.

Day before yesterday and again this evening, I had the chance to greg visit a spring camp sponsored by a so-called "School of the Air", so named because its students, mostly kids belonging to sheep-herders and aboriginal kids who live in remote locations, have their classes via chat on the Internet (in markfly previous generations, radio). This week the kids have actually been face-to-face in a end-of-school camp and today were their field day activities, a performance, and BBQ. Here are my host Greg and I are wearing a fly mask used in a song the kids had sung earlier.


Now on to the so-called chance encounters. First, back at dog2Marapoi Station in the bush, in the morning at a community meeting I was introduced to a dog movie star who will be appearing in the upcoming movie "To Hell and Back". A full fifteen minutes of the movie occurs at the station, and the dog's owner, Gary, is an half-aboriginal actor who has appeared in a number of movies and who plays a priest in this one. Anyway, check it outdog celeb in a few months when it hits the theatres.

Back in Kilgoorlie (population 30,000) again in the evening, I was sipping a Latte at McDonalds looking at page one of the local newspaper which showed the picture of a mother and a 14-year-old daughter who had not been seen or heard from in 5 days.

As we were preparing to leave, my host Greg commented that a lady who walked by looked like the mother featured in the paper. As he was gathering his own kids from the play area, he asked her if in fact she was. There they were: reunited and talking through the events of the past few days. Without being a nuisance, my host commented that a lot of people had been worried about them, that he was very happy for them, and that the girl's mother really loved her daughter.

Well, I'm pretty bushed tonight, not from being out in the bush, but from dealing with cultural differences and being around lots of people all day. I think I'll call it a day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Yesterday afternoon I arrived in Kalgoorlie, WA after a short flight from Perth. In the evening, Greg, my host, took me over to Boulder to see the so-called Super Pit, which stretches more than 3 km long, 1 km wide, and (eventually) 500 m deep. The Super Pit is a bunch of old mines where as early as the 1890's miners began digging for gold. Now it's a big open consolidated pit in which the goal is to glean 2 kg of gold from every 1 ton of dirt. I watched for a few minutes as the trucks slowly made their way down the road into the pit, were filled with dirt, and made their way up again.

My host has a vision for community development among his own people, the Aboriginal peoples. In earlier years, Greg started up a health services facility for his people in Kalgoorlie. Presently, he's working out in the bush.

From what I've seen in the two days I've been around, the lot of indigenous peoples here is worse than the indigenous peoples of Taiwan, who have also been marginalized, have chronic drinking problems, etc.

Earlier this afternoon we left Kalgoorlie and drove north 180 km out into the bush where Greg has started his latest community development endeavor in Morapoi Station. Many of his family are here, as well as a few from another indigenous people group who have come 1000 km from the central desert. He calls his place here Beulah because God has given him a vision here for his people to be married once again to the land.

Earlier this afternoon we drove further off into the bush to do some gold prospecting for a few hours with gold detectors.  Anyway, I came back empty-handed. We'll head back into town tomorrow morning sometime.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wrap-Up of Pinjarra Visit


God is good. Tomorrow morning wraps up the first stop of my visit to West Australia-- Pinjarra, WA. Aside from my powerpoint locking up yesterday during the morning meeting, things went smoothly logistics-wise although I wish content-wise it could have gone better.

Although I didn't spend time with too many people outside of the scheduled meetings, those I did spend time with were kind and generous. Ian, ian and cherylthe pastor, and Cheryl were kind hosts throughout the week. They are a godly couple, and I really appreciate them opening up their home to me, taking me to a Rotary Club meeting, going to meet some of Cheryl's ESL students, etc. Ian and Cheryl are certified experts when it comes to Western Australia wildflowers. Tfl6hey tried to impart some of their knowledge to me, but I'm afraid I'm a slow learner.

Sunday evening they took me up to Alcoa Look-Out, which looks over the Alcoa factory and all of Pinjarra. On the way I saw my first kangaroos -- dozens of them and quite large according to Ian and Cheryl. 


winnings Bert, Lizzie, Rebecca and Alex were also very kind in taking me over  to Perth for some sight-seeing on Monday (Alex had earlier taken me to a local fitness center a few hundred yards away from the house here).




fl19The King's Park in Perth was beautiful with all of its wildflowers. Afterward, we drove over to the coast  where we had fish and chips on the beach, and continued over to Fremantle (WA's chief port), where we visited the Maritime Museum.











Tomorrow I'm off to Kalgoorlie, where there was a gold rush in the 1890's.

Some of the birds I saw during my time in Pinjarra (and Perth) included:

Butcher Bird

Black Cockatoo

Gallah (Pinkon Grey)

Kookaburra  (sound is just as incredible as in the movies)


28 (Port Lincoln) Parrot




White Cockatoo

Willie Wagtail  (extremely friendly bird)

Here are some pics of some of the above I took myself:

bird4 bird6 bird8bird10