THEY come from the dusty Outback, having never seen the beautiful strip of beaches that make up Sydney’s northern peninsula.
Indigenous team and Manly star George Rose with one of the Aboriginal youngsters.Picture: SIMON DEAN
For a group of indigenous Australians, visiting from the Jawoyn Tribe in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, the past week has been spent learning basic surf rescue techniques, visiting the Sydney Opera House, Taronga Zoo and observing the Sea Eagles train at Narrabeen.
The trip was organised through North Palm Beach Surf Lifesaving Club’s annual Outback Meets the Beach program - a concept now in its third year - designed to develop relations between both communities.
Teenagers and adults from the tiny towns of Barunga, Wugularr and Manyallaluk (all located 120km east of Katherine) stay with their hosts at the bunkhouses of North Palm Beach Surf Club for 11 days, giving them a chance to gain some insight into the requirements of surf lifesavers and life in the big city.
“It’s not just a holiday,” North Palm Beach SLSC official Terry Kirkpatrick said. “It’s an education as well. For the majority of these kids, it’s the first time they have seen the ocean.”
Visitor Jamie Ahfat, on his first trip to Sydney, said it’s been a rewarding adventure. “We go to Darwin, that is our big city - it’s nothing compared to here,” he said.
Young brothers Kieran Ranch, 15, and Ricardo Ranch, 16, said watching the Eagles was a bonus.
“It’s good to watch the Sea Eagles,” Ricardo said.