Outback Meets the Beach

One of Sydney’s most famous surfing communities, North Palm Beach, joined with Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for youth to provide the inaugural life-skills training program which ran from February 13th – 27th, 2008.

The North Palm Beach Surf Club hosted a dozen young Aboriginal people (six males and six females aged 15-19) selected by the Jawoyn Association from Wugularr, Barunga and Manyallaluk/Eva Valley in the Northern Territory.  They were supervised by the Surf Club and three Aboriginal Traditional Owners accompanying the young people.  Most had never been out of their local region.  This was also a great opportunity for Sydney youth to meet and learn from Indigenous Australians.  Visits are planned to the Northern Territory communities.  

“Outback Meets the Beach”, now an annual program focuses on developing skills, confidence and physical fitness through supervised exercise and water safety.  The young people are taught emergency first aid.  A Pittwater marina provides training in the operation and maintenance of small boats.  This can assist the youth to get work in tourism enterprises back home on the waterways of Nitmiluk Gorge.  While in Sydney Indigenous National Park Rangers discussed with the group how to share Cultural knowledge and bush lore in eco-tourism.

Individuals with particular skills were given further opportunity for training and networking with leading professionals who may further their employment prospects.  Young women working in the Ghunmarn Cultural Centre were given instruction by a Newport Art Gallery on marketing and developing new products.

Two young film makers were mentored by several of Australia’s leading cinematographers.  Among the highlights of the fortnight’s training program were the motivational visits by Ian Thorpe, Sydney Swans AFL football stars, Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin, as well as the boxing Kelly brothers.  All spoke about healthy living, overcoming setbacks and taking pride in Culture.

Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for youth provides funding for this life-skills training program.  North Palm Beach Surf Club, ComfortDelGro/CabCharge Company and other corporations contribute generously.