I was fortunate to land a teaching job for a week at a remote school in an Aboriginal Community called Urapunga where the school only has 2 classes. 1 class is from Prep to year 3 and the other from year 3 to year 6.
We were living in Darwin at the time and we set off on the 600km journey to Urapunga (near Ngukarr on the map below) leaving the caravan and the girls behind, at 3am on Sunday 31st May hoping to arrive in Urapunga some time on the Sunday afternoon.
We arrived in Katherine at dawn. Next stop was 100km away at the thermal springs in Mataranka where we stopped for some brekky and a dip in
the water which is a fantastic bath water temperature of 34 degrees centigrade and it's sooo clear that it looks to be a foot deep, so you step in
there and your head disappears under the water cos it's actually 6 foot deep! It's amazing!
After recovering from our 400km journey from Darwin, we continued towards Urapunga. From here it was down a single track road for 200km.
Which means that if there's anything coming the other direction..."get outa the way!"
...then 50 km down a dirt road and over a causeway...
...and eventually we arrived in Urapunga, at 3pm on the Sunday afternoon. We saw some interesting things in the countryside in the last 100km. A dead something (possibly a hog (left hand photo below) and a dead buffalo (right hand photo below). They were bigger than anything we'd ever seen.
We stayed in a house right next door to the school for the week. Click here for more info about the school.
Below is the school.
At 08:10 every school day, the hooter is sounded which is heard all over the community (of about 150 people, with 30+ pupils) which is the signal for pupils to set off for school and over the next few minutes they arrive.
The day starts with some sport, assembly and then follows much the same routine as any other school - with various lessons such as English and Maths interspersed with recess and lunch break.
Mail is delivered every Tuesday to the Urapunga airstrip - there's no trouble finding a parking space here! That's the runway on the right. I guess it's also used by the Flying Doctors when the need arises.
After school, the boys would take themselves "out bush" with some pals and come back filthy! What on earth were they doing??
Ngukarr is the nearest township which is about 40 km drive away down a dirt road and across a river
The river rises several meters during the wet season and cuts off communities for months, with food having to be flown in.
This is the general store in Ngukurr which supplies the locals with everything from beans to nappies and papers and petrol.
But before we knew it, it was sadly time to do the 600km trek and head back to Darwin. We set off at 3pm on Saturday and arrived at the hot springs in Mataranka at dusk, leaving just enough time for a few swims!
It was great teaching at the school. I was teaching the older of the 2 classes - which also had 2 new pupils - Joseph and Alexander! So for the first time ever, I had my children in my class! They enjoyed the week too (well I was stood over them with a big stick when I asked).
We had such a great time that if all goes according to plan, then we'll be heading back to Urapunga in a short time after these holidays. This time though it will be all 5 of us, not just a boys only week!