Where the desert meets the sea
Carnarvon is a coastal town located 900km north of Perth, on Australia’s west coast. The town is part of Western Australia’s Gascoyne region, lying at the mouth of the Gascoyne River on the Indian Ocean.
Indigenous people first inhabited the region more than 30,000 years ago and today they account for just over 21% of the town’s 4,400 person population. Carnarvon is predominantly a fishing and agricultural region, particularly known for its banana and mango plantations.
A successful partnership with Carnarvon Community College
After spending two years consolidating the g-oz program in Halls Creek, we were ready to establish our second site and explored a number of options in both Western Australia and the Northern Territory. In 2012, we were invited by the MidWest Education Region Office to pilot a similar program in Carnarvon at the newly amalgamated Carnarvon Community College. The pilot was successful and we have been working in that school community ever since.
In Carnarvon we work with girls in years 3-12; the program is mandatory for girls in Years 3-10 and optional for girls in Years 11 and 12. The girls in high school form the target group for our Carnarvon program.
Carnarvon Community College is a Kindergarten to Year 12 school. The school has over 500 students and 71% of its students have an Aboriginal background. The school’s leadership is extremely supportive of the program and for the weeks we are in town, they specifically organise the girls’ timetables around us.
We make four week-long visits to the school each year, with one visit organised per school term. A typical week in Carnarvon sees us undertaking at least 24 hours of program delivery with girls aged 8-18. We also support the work of Shooting Stars, an engagement initiative of Netball WA, who work within the Carnarvon community as well.
- Chantele Weberg-oz participant - Carnarvon Community College"I'm always so excited when I hear that Girls of Oz is coming. They don't just target one specific thing, it's not just about singing. It's about dancing, acting and all that type of stuff…It brings people out of their comfort zone."
- Michael HendersonPrincipal - Carnarvon Community College"The value to our school by having g-oz come in to work with our girls is a crucial factor if we are to continue to increase and sustain the attendance and engagement of our girls’ education until year 12.“
- Christina Stephensong-oz participant - Carnarvon Community College“The most significant thing for me is being together. It's being in a team and working together - it's just so much easier to do things. It pushes your boundaries.”