June 2000 Newsletter - Marion Kossatz (O'Hara) YHS 1947

Marion Kossatz (O'Hara) YHS 1947 Wrote thanking the committee for their work and attached the following: VISE (Volunteers for isolated Student Education) - During 1999, I spent five months as a volunteer teacher in the Northern Territory, and recommend the activity as an alternative to a dull retirement at home. Oenpellie in Arnhem Land is an aboriginal settlement of about one thousand persons, about two hundred of whom are white, or "ballanders", (Ballanders, bollanders, hollanders. the first white people exploring along the northern coast there, were Dutch sailors, Hollanders, so ... ) Seven weeks there was a lifetime memory to be treasured. A week at Katherine-School-of{he-Air let me meet dozens of parents and other tutor/teachers and their stories are legends of ingenuity. But they also reinforce our knowledge of the immense need there for support from experienced professionals, or willing cheerful helpers in some other field: as one lady said, "Just come and be a different face to look at." Seven weeks on a remote cattle (Brahman) property on the Barkly Tableland let me go to breakfast EVERY morning at 5.30 am, to the echoes of an iron bell ringing very loudly. It needed to be heard by the aboriginal stockmen in their quarters down the paddock! No sleeping in on Saturday or Sunday; breakfast at 5.30 am every day, smoko at 9, lunch at 12, smoko at 3 pm. supper at 6 and everyone was in bed by 7.30/8.00 pm. Going to the Borroloola Show and Rodeo is a wonderful excuse to eat freshly cooked barramundi and sleep under the stars in a swag. Never to be missed nor forgotten. I am hoping to go again. Five weeks in Darwin I spent as a Computer Consultant, volunteer again, giving support to the Administrative Staff there, in exchange for accommodation while I received therapy to repair & restore two severed tendons in my right thumb. Some R&R time let me visit Kununurra and the Argyle Dam, the Ord River Scheme and Dam, the Bungle Bungles (fly, four-wheel drive and hike!); Broome, (camel riding along Cable Beach at sunset is magic); King Sound and the thousand islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago are a joy to see and a swim at Cape Leveque tops it off.