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To visit an Indigenous community in Australia’s Northern Territory and Queensland is a privilege most of us will never enjoy. Such a trip was recently undertaken by a group of students from The Scots College in an excursion to gain real life understanding of Indigenous communities. Students from the College’s Indigenous Education program joined classmates and staff on the week long trip as part of the Community Living Project, a school task where students are challenged to develop sustainable housing models for remote communities.

Students visited Gapuwiyak, a region in northeast Northern Territory to see for themselves the existing housing situation. As is the case in many Indigenous communities, families often live in housing that is poorly designed and cramped, sometimes inhabited by 20 or more people. One of the challenges of the Community Living Project was to address these major issues in a sustainable way.

“It was quite extraordinary to see the vision and creativity of 20 teenage boys during the Community Living Project”, said Mr Jonathan Samengo, the Executive Officer of the Indigenous Program at Scots. “The boys’ designs showed great ingenuity, providing solutions that could house many family members, be genuinely sustainable and cost effective. I want to congratulate the winning team of Ryan Adams (17), Alasdair Scott (17), Mostyn Emery (14), Charlie Adams (14), and Angus McKenzie-Tucker (13) on their fantastic design.”

Mr Samengo also spoke of the valuable insight the boys gained from the trip. “Seeing first hand how remote communities live was a great experience, and I’m sure it’s one that will stay with the boys”.

The students were lucky enough to visit MiHaven, a building company in Cairns who were the key drivers behind the Project, and got to see a computer model of their winning design, which will hopefully become a reality following the next stage of the Community Living Project – obtaining funding and permission for the houses to be built in Arnhem Land.

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