The inaugural Pilbara Immersion has been a fantastic experience for the students and staff involved from both St Luke’s College and Chisholm Catholic College. It was always about growing knowledge, respect, connection and relationships with both the people and culture of our two Colleges as well as our Indigenous, Aboriginal people, history, lands and culture.
St Luke’s College is situated in a very isolated and broadly significant part of our state and it faces unique challenges. We sort to offer friendship and connection. St Luke’s, like Chisholm, is an Edmond Rice affiliated schools. Br Olly Pickett’s contribution to both Colleges’ unites us and is worth celebrating. We also share several former staff who worked there and at Chisholm, no less so than Mr John Bormolini who served as Principal at St Luke’s from 2000 to 2005 and at Chisholm from 2014. We have started something which we hope will continue to grow and may well see us share resources, people and future reciprocal visits.
Three days out ‘On-Country’ with Ngurrangga Tours exposed us to a very different world view, spirituality and culture. We saw and heard stories about Indigenous Rock Art, some of which they believe was created up to one hundred thousand years ago and when the environment and life forms those people were living with was vastly different to what it is today. We swam and fished in the ocean and river pools, looked out over vast aspects of the Pilbara, sampled a little bush tucker and immersed in stories of the Dreamtime.
On our return, we were full of big smiles, lasting memories, red-dust and a great sense of gratitude towards everyone who supported us in making this Immersion a reality. Thanks goes to Mr John Bormolini and the Executive Leadership Team for supporting and enabling the venture as well as Br Ollie Pickett, the staff and students of St Luke’s College for their support, hospitality and partnership.
Thanks also to the parents of our Immersion students for their support and placing their trust in the Immersion Programme. Our students (Nicola Clover, Amarah Dougan, Evangeline Frew, Brianna Kealley, Angelica Palma, Brooke Thompson, Grace Whiteley, Roman Kaless, Blake Morin, Liam Smith and Jacob Wilathgamuwa) were a credit to their families and our College.
Special thanks also to Sr Chau, Mr Sule Alagic and Mr Tristan Mamotte for their broad assistance with aspects of the planning, preparations and in our combined fundraising efforts (with the upcoming Vietnam Immersion students and team of staff: Mr Sule Alagic, Sr Chau, Ms Taryn Mohan, Ms Jodie Reynolds and Mr Khai Nguyen).
To the Pilbara Immersion staff – Ms Amy McGuire, Ms Jasmine Re, Mr John Bormolini and Mr Cory Tickner, it truly was an ‘Immersion’ into a very different culture and world view. We faced challenges, problem solved and wore many hats (figuratively and in reality)! We swam, laughed and took a heap of photos, we constantly helped pack and unpack swags, bags and applied constant sunscreen and made good use of the First Aid kits. Most of all, we helped create lasting memories and connections which will grow into the future.
Finally, a big thanks to everyone back at Chisholm for your best wishes, prayers and covering our staff (duties & classes) and we wish the upcoming Vietnam Immersion all the very best in their journey.
Mr John Swindells
Deputy Principal – Mission