Two weeks in Marble Bar


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August 4th 2008
Published: August 4th 2008
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Monday 28th July
We were at the school by 0730, both a little nervous as to what to expect. No problems, we were soon made welcome by the principal, Carol Mills, as well as the staff as Rags renewed his acquaintances.

After being shown around the school we soon set an introductory programme to follow, this will be refined as we go. Judy started our program with the secondary section of the school, Rags taking over the supervision of the whole high school. Today this consisted of 1 student! This state of affairs was caused by the unfortunate death of an elder aboriginal lady, the absent students either being related to her in some way or off sick.

Even so, at the end of the day we both felt that it had been quite a productive day with the probability that it would continue.

After work, we walked around the township, enjoying the quiet and pleasant temperature. We saw a couple of the school pupils and, unlike what often happens in Perth, they cheerfully acknowledged us.

On our return we passed by the Ironclad Hotel and on an impulse entered. Here, we enjoyed a drink whilst talking to a colourful character by the name of Brian Bush. Brian is an OH&S officer currently visiting the nearby Telfer mine. He had with him a pet bobtail goanna, wearing a bushman's hat similar to the one he was wearing. He has had this goanna since 1993. He is a naturalist (herpet) and is a great advocate of the protection of reptiles. He was extremely knowledgeable on this subject and we realised where we had heard of him before, he being an author and had visited many schools with his pets. He was part of the group who had the law changed so that native reptiles could be kept by private individuals. He fought the fact that: 'You may kill a snake, but you can't keep a live one'.We both felt a little richer in having met a person like him.


Tuesday - Thursday 31 July
We continue to work during the day, supporting teachers and setting up the interactive whiteboards(IWB) that they bought earlier in the year. Yesterday we left a teachers very happy that she was able to use her IWB by the end of the day. Today we weren't so fortunate, running into problems
Sign of life at Glen Herring GorgeSign of life at Glen Herring GorgeSign of life at Glen Herring Gorge

We heard a few birds and a few little fish but otherwise this gecko was all we spied in Glen Herring Gorge.
with the 2 that we tried to set up. Judy called the support person at Linkmedia where they were purchased and apparently they need the chip upgraded or reset so tomorrow when he is in the office he will send us a file that will enable this to be done easily.

Rags went out to the 'community' with Peter, the secondary teacher, to see if we could get enough permission slips signed to ensure the camp at Karijini went ahead next week. Two of the students were found and if they attend school tomorrow the camp will go ahead. It was very quiet at the community with a few groups lazing in the sun outside their houses, most seemed to be inside watching TV. A few days of hard work would improve the area considerably, the removal of litter and the 100 or so car wrecks within a radius of 500m being a growing necessity.

Tonight after school we ventured out with the fishing rod for the first time to Chinaman Pool, but no catfish were ready to commit suicide by jumping on our hook! Tuesday night we drove out to Corunna Downs airstrip which is a disused airstrip that was vacated after the war.

Most nights we have enjoyed happy hour in the open air meeting place at the camp site before cooking our dinner. We meet all sorts of interesting people. On Tuesday night we met several retired farmers who were travelling together and tonight a group, mainly from various places in WA who have been travelling for quite a while.

We have come back to the caravan tonight to reheat the frozen curry we took from the freezer earlier for dinner and cook some rice to go with it.

Friday 1st August
The school had its first assembly since the new principal started today, two parents turning up to see Merit Awards being given to their children. Getting more community involvement is high on her priorities.

Judy got another whiteboard working, being talked through the problem by a representative based in Canberra! One to go!

The evening was a very social event at Carol's, the principal, house. We were joined by David, principal of Nullagine school, and Peter with his wife Maretta.

We have agreed to work at Nullagine for a week, but this looks as if it will be 2 weeks. The second week commences with the school hosting the Variety Bash car rally on the Monday night with a school breakfast on Tuesday. This sounds like fun and we will then work for the rest of that week providing we are still enjoying it.

If this occurs, we have agreed to come back early next term for at least a week in each school, and are considering leaving the van here until then. This will then give us comfortable accommodation here, without having to haul it up and down from Perth.

Saturday 2nd August
We had a very quiet morning using this time to do our washing and to tidy up the van.
Maretta and Peter invited us all to dinner, she preparing a delicious pork roast with a special Irish potato dish cooked especially as Carol's father is in town and he came from Ireland. Everyone seemed to be a little subdued compared to last night but it was still an enjoyable evening.

Sunday 3rd August
An Irish breakfast of potato bread, bacon & eggs, toast and good coffee, again prepared by Maretta & Peter, started our day. Maretta shared her special recipe with us and we look forward to being able to try it when we cook breakfast for Sue and Ali back in Perth. We are really enjoying living here!

In the afternoon we drove about 35 kms to Glen Herring Gorge, beautiful scenery with picturesque pools at the base of towering cliffs. We enjoyed the exercise afforded by clambering over the rocks as we've been pretty sedentary lately. Rags also enjoyed the excuse to try 4 wheel driving along some of the tracks in this area. Unfortunately the water was not at its best being so long since the rains, otherwise we would have been tempted to go for a swim as the temperature was in the low 30s.

Reading and catching up with this blog filled the rest of the day, tomorrow being a 'work day'!

Monday - Friday 8th August
This week was pretty much full-on with both of us either working with the teachers or taking classes. The first few afternoons after school finished were spent looking at local attractions such as the Pioneer Cemetery and the old gold battery. Towards the end of the week we were exhausted by this time so this time was spent reading and relaxing.

We did get into a bit of a routine of meeting fellow campers in the bbq area at 1700 for an afternoon drink and chatter. It was interesting to hear about the different places people came from and where they had been. We have a lot of travelling to do to catch up! One couple, Michael & Moira, were also longer term stayers and we spoke to them a lot. They live in Dunsborough and have invited us to drop in on them when down that way.

Friday was spent finalising activities such as writing a report on what we had observed and achieved in the fortnight, giving the school some record for accountability purposes.

Whilst taking the Year 4-7 for some creative writing for an hour, giving the teacher some time to do work outside the classroom, Rags found that the 7 boys (all aboriginal) weren't on task. In fact, 3 of the boys were going out of their way to be difficult. After a little bit of encouragement they started talking of personal experiences. By sitting behind them and letting them lead the discussion it was fascinating to hear what to them were normal experiences. Following are some of the comments made: “ open sights are ok, with the Magnum you need a scope for distance, all of a roo is good but I love the heart cut open in half and cooked on the coals, car broke down and we had to walk back into town, Dad flogged ......, she hit him on the back of the head with a stick, ... hit ... with a rock, she was swearing”. They then talked about different snakes and how some were scary.
Totally different to any discussion we have ever heard amongst students in the metropolitan area.

The evening was spent with Peter and Maretta, Peter tired after a week in Karijini Park with 2 of his class with students from other remote schools. A pleasant time was had and we will definitely catch up with our new friends on our return here, or when they come to Perth.



Additional photos below
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Our home for 2 weeksOur home for 2 weeks
Our home for 2 weeks

At the Marble Bar Caravan Park
Marble Bar BatteryMarble Bar Battery
Marble Bar Battery

We had fun exploring the old battery.
Maretta, Terry and JudyMaretta, Terry and Judy
Maretta, Terry and Judy

The girls enjoyed seeing what Maretta bought on her holidays in Bali and Ireland.
Landscape between Marble Bar and NullagineLandscape between Marble Bar and Nullagine
Landscape between Marble Bar and Nullagine

The landscape was so interesting on the way we had to stop a few times to explore.


4th August 2008

The Red Earth
Am enjoying reading about you experience at Marble Bar.It all sounds so different to "City Life"! The soil is very red, isn't it ? Have you found much bull-dust up there? Dreadful stuff !!How often do you wash the car?? It's good to see that the locals are looking after their land so well, they have such an affinity with it, don't they ?? Looks like it will be "Hello" and "Goodbye" when you arrive home. Holidays beckon ! Hope your able to get the IBW working tomorrow. It was great talking to you, love Mum
8th August 2008

Washing the car
Hi Mum We don't get to wash anything here -it's not allowed in the caravan park and we are going on dirt roads to Nullagine in the morning so it's not worth it. Only got 3 out of 4 IWB's working. There is something wrong with the 4th. The woman is coming up on the 21st and bringing a controller with her - whatever that is! love ya J

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