Recently, Cottage staff members Sean, Natalie and Troy were lucky enough to spend 5 days soaking up the Brisbane sun alongside 11 Indigenous students (from two different Queensland communities), their teachers and staff members from the Cathy Freeman Foundation. This was our 3rd camp for the year partnering with the Cathy Freeman Foundation and our first time ever in Brisbane!

Our week started off as most would, allowing time to settle in and get to know each other. We played some simple and funny games, talking about who we are and where we come from before the grade five and six students got to work on their daily journals and thought about their future hopes and dreams for their end of week presentations.

The rest of the week followed with the exploration of Brisbane city, visiting the museum and science centre, enjoying the views from the Brisbane Eye Ferris Wheel, completing an AIME session at Griffiths University and even touring around the State Library.

A particular highlight and favourite of the week for most of the kids and staff was a day trip to Stradbroke Island. Not only was it an incredible and scenic view travelling to and from the island upon the Barge, but once we arrived, we all felt a warm and wonderful welcome from Stradbroke’s Aboriginal Traditional Owners of "Quandamooka".

A lovely local family took us out on the Kayak Kulcha Experience, where we spent two hours kayaking around in crystal clear waters with traditional, hand-crafted spears, keeping an eye out for the fish below. Although no one was able to catch anything, we were still lucky enough to enjoy cooked kangaroo, a turtle curry and some fresh fish for lunch once we arrived back on land. Followed by this once in a lifetime experience, the children then visited the local Salt Water Murri’s Art Gallery where they learnt about and painted their very own piece of traditional aboriginal art. The last part of our afternoon spent on Stradbroke Island included the historical Goompi Trail Walk, along the Dunwich foreshore, talking about aboriginal artefacts, traditional hunting methods and ochre, bush tucker, medicines, and even having a boomerang throwing contest at the end!

On the last leg of our trip together we all enjoyed some free time getting upside down on the trampolines and spending two hours shopping around Garden City Westfield Plaza. Later we travelled out to the Australian Catholic University where the students all got up in front of one another and presented their ‘My Dream’ speeches that they had been writing throughout the week.

We would like to thank the Brisbane Holiday Village for covering all our accommodation and catering needs and the Cathy Freeman Foundation for another fantastically partnered camp, we look forward to working with you again soon!