Cooktown Camp Story

The Cooktown camp was at Black Cockatoo Battlecamp and was represented by Gungardie (Cooktown) tradtional owners from the Guugu Yimithirr nation. Senior T.O present was Conrad Michael who officated and special thanks must go to Gresham Kepple, Bradley Michael, Troy Michael, Conrad Michael. This was a special camp because three generations of Michael families were present. “Thank you for allowing me to share my culture with Camping on Country and also my own kids on our own country, this was special.” – Bradley Michael

15 men and 2 youth attended over the five days and much time was spent making traditional boomerangs, woomera and Didge, having emotional wellbeing yarns, hunting and traditional earth cooking, fishing, dancing, singing and healthy eating and health checks under the shady trees. Cultural activities are at the centre of Camping on Country and the men are also offered counselling and health checks. The men feel culturally safe and are relaxed about getting their health checks. Social emotional well being yarning circles happen each day and are an important part of the camp with intentional conversation driving the connection and trust between the men.

One of the important outcomes from the camp was the identified need for more Camping on Country in Cooktown, especially for the younger men. Senior men identified this as a priority. Social and emotional wellbeing yarns happen around the fire each morning and are facilitated by Camping on Country Ambassador Ernie Dingo and Lomas Amini.

“When we put the Lore bosses and senior men up the top and recognise them as the experts in their own community positive change happens. These men are the only ones who can close the gap on their own health. These elders here have the solutions and we are here to help give the men a voice so they can be heard. We are now looking at ways of putting a Camping on Country Hub in Cape York with local men managing the camps to service Kowanyama and other Cape communities. Congratulations to Chooky and Cooktown family and the Apunipima Health team who helped us pull all this together.” – Ernie Dingo

We are now looking at ways of putting a Camping on Country Hub in Cape York with local men managing the camps to service Kowanyama and other Cape communities. Congratulations to Chooky and Cooktown family and the Apunipima Health team who helped us pull all this together.

Camping on Country is managed by BushTV Enterprises and is funded through the Commonwealth’s Department of Health.

We acknowledge the support of the Hon Ken Wyatt AM Minister for Indigenous Australians.

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