Northcote High School was successful in receiving a $1000 NT Learning Adventures grant towards our travel to the NT in 2016. We thank Tourism NT for the funding that supported our travel and allowed us to purchase gifts for the Lilla Community.
Day 1: 15th of August, We left Melbourne for Uluru. After arriving at the airport we were met by our tour guides for the week, Bear, Bongo and Lilla the dog. After having some lunch at our campsite, we drove to Uluru, where we did a long walk around the base. We learnt why the local people ask visitors not to climb: apart from being a cultural significant place, it’s also very dangerous. When we got back at camp we had Spaghetti bolognaise for dinner, and had an early night.
Day 2- Day 6: We got woken up at five the next morning to the sound of Bear playing his flute. After brekkie we drove for about an hour to Kata Tjuta were we did another walk, this one was personally my favourite, as it was a lot more exciting and scenic, and we did it during the sunrise. In the afternoon, we drove four hours to Lilla, the community where we would be staying for the next four days. At Lilla we completed a range of activities, such as the Kings Canyon walk, working with the local school children, finger painting and jewellery making. Vera, who is one of the traditional owners, showed us the spiritually significant sites around Lilla, and their meaning.
During our stay, we completed a community services project. Our project was to dig up Buffel grass, a grass introduced from Africa in the early 1900’s to feed cattle. As it grows a lot faster than native flowers and grasses, it takes over their habitat and doesn't t give them a chance to grow. Buffel grass also burns very easily so acts as more fuels fires if they are started. This puts anything around it at risk, including the trees. These trees have a spiritual significant to the local people as they are connected to their ancestors. Along with digging up vast amounts of this weed we also made a song, complete with a music video, called ‘Buffel grass soldiers’, which is a parody of Bob Marley’s song Buffalo soldiers.
Each night we slept in a circle of swags under the stars, and were woken each morning by Bear playing the flute, and Bongo singing and playing the guitar.
The meals on the camp were far better than any camp food ever; some of these meals included sausages, chicken parma, wraps, chicken drumsticks and a roast.
Day 6: After our stay in Lilla we moved onto Alice Springs were we stayed in an eco-sanctuary. On our first of two nights there we had a star talk, were we got shown all of the different constellations with a really powerful laser pointer. In Alice we went to the shops, a wildlife sanctuary and visited the base of the Royal Flying Doctors service. On Monday the 22nd of August we headed home, hugging Bear, Bongo and Lilla, we boarded our plane back to Melbourne.
by Electra McPherson