Thirty-one school teachers are settling into schools across the Kimberley following a Catholic Education Office (CEO) WA induction in Broome.
The week-long induction included a session at the Sisters of St John of God (SSJG) Heritage Centre for the new teachers, along with a group of CEO staff from Perth, to gain a better appreciation of the history of education in the Kimberley.
Heritage Centre Coordinator Sister Pat Rhatigan said most of the teachers were new to the Kimberley, and had mostly come from across Australia, along with two directly from the United Kingdom.
She said the teachers were posted to 11 schools in the Kimberley, including schools in Kununurra, Ringer Soak/Yaruman near Halls Creek, Derby, the John Pugajangka-Piyirn school in the Mulan community, Balgo Hills, Billiluna, Wyndham, Lombadina, Red Hill, Warmun Community and Broome.
“The induction was an important first step for them in understanding the uniqueness of Kimberley schools, working in remote environments, and appreciating that they have support from other teachers with shared experiences across the region.”
“It also aimed to provide them with a sound knowledge of their school’s origin and the spirit that drove local people to ask for a school. We wanted to ensure the teachers knew that their schools, no matter how remote or small, were part of the bigger picture of education in Australia, and that what they do as teachers really does matter,” she added
Catholic Education of WA CEO Deputy Executive Director Peter Yensch, who paid a visit to the Broome’s Heritage Centre for the first time, said he found the visit highly motivating.
“The visit reminded us all of the role of Catholic Missionaries and the history of Catholic Education in this beautiful, but remote and challenging region.”
“The visit to the Broome Heritage Centre had a profound impact on my own knowledge and understanding of the humble, but heroic figures of the past in the Kimberley,” Mr Yensch said.
“I’m sure the new teachers, many who are recently graduated from university, were able to go to their new school communities with the enthusiasm to create their own bit of history.”
The induction included a visit to the Heritage Centre’s Relationships Exhibition in the 1926 Old Convent building, which is now opened to the public.
The permanent exhibition on Barker St is a place where locals and visitors can learn about the social history of the Kimberley.
It includes a noted historical collection of more than 55,000 photographs, short films, story boards, and touch-screens that can be viewed by the public.
The exhibition is open Mondays to Fridays between 9am and 1pm, and on Saturdays between 10am and 1pm.