In June, a group of Year 11 students and teachers embarked on the annual Alice Springs Immersion, fostering the ongoing connection between our College and the St Joseph’s Flexible Learning Centre. The journey aimed to delve into the culture and beliefs of Australia’s first nations peoples. Throughout the immersion’s first week, our students joined the St Joseph’s Flexi community for school and explored the Arrernte people’s Dreaming stories about country, fully engaging in the indigenous culture. They had firsthand experience in collecting and processing bush medicine, traditionally used for ailments like coughs, colds, and cuts. This knowledge underscored the significance of living harmoniously with the environment, taking only what is necessary.
Another highlight was the group’s journey alongside the Caterpillar Mountain range encircling Mparntwe. This route encompassed culturally significant sites including Clay Pans and Corroboree Rock as well as the Emily, Simpsons and Jessie gaps and Ormiston Gorge. The deep respect the local community held for their culture and willingness to share it left a lasting impact. The immersion extended beyond Alice Springs, encompassing a two-night camping expedition to key cultural landmarks such as Uluṟu, Kata Tjuṯa, and Kings Canyon. Even camping under the stars proved unforgettable, despite a surprise rain shower.
This immersion enabled our students to gain a firsthand experience which challenges stereotypical perceptions about indigenous people, their culture, beliefs and way of life. Armed with this newfound understanding, our students returned with the ability to speak from personal insight, influencing others’ perspectives. This unforgettable journey not only deepened their connection with the land but also changed their outlook on indigenous heritage and the essence of coexistence.