Normanton Camp Story 2021

Our second camp at Normanton attracted a record breaking 52 men. The elders chose the same spot at Duck Creek on Delta Downs Station, one of the largest and most successful Aboriginal cattle properties in Australia owned by the Kurtijar people. Delta Downs staff supplied us with a fresh killer, water and were on hand should we need anything. Delta Downs has over 1 million wild acres, and run 40,000 to 45,000 cattle depending on the time of year. The station is actually 3 properties Delta Downs the Magieville Outstation and Karumba Downs, all run from the homestead on Delta. We thank Delta mob for their hospitality and allowing us to camp on their country.

The camp was inspired by the efforts of Dwayne Savo from Gidgee Healing. Gidgee Healing is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service providing holistic and culturally appropriate health services, including Drug and Alcohol Services, for Aboriginal people residing in the Mount Isa, North West and Lower Gulf regions of Queensland. Dwayne works at the The Normanton Recovery and Community Wellbeing Service (NRCWS) which is a residential drug and alcohol recovery service, specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Special thanks to Dwayne and Nadine at the NRCWS for allocating the funding for this camp.

Program activities involved an inspiring health and well being talk by the local and popular Doctor Marjard Page who also attended the camp and participated in the Program along with is Countrymen. Dr Page’s mobs are Kalkadoon, Waanyi and Gangalidda. He is also a Christian man and is passionate about his people. Mount Isa is in the heart of Kalkadoon country and Dr Page said it was of great benefit to the community to have a Kalkadoon doctor working locally. He is passionate about the benefits of Culture and our Camping on Country program.

At the centre of our Camp program is the men’s yarning circle. This is a safe space for men to share their story and open up and be seen and heard by the other men. Counselling is also available for those men who need it.

Cultural activities dominate the week with men participating in making spears, boomerang, didge and clap sticks. Once spears are completed men go out bush and fish and hunt and come back with wallaby, fish and whatever they can catch to feed the group. Uncle Norg prepared a healthy traditional earth oven to cook all the meats and vegies. Nutrition is an important part of our camp which is always drug and alcohol free.

Gidgee Healing sponsored this camp and Bynoe provided much support. Delta Downs provided country, meat and water and staff. We thank our stakeholders for investing in their men and look forward to partnering again for more camps. We also acknowledge the Department of Health for our previous funding and our new partners at OrangeSky who provided a commercial grade wash trailer as part of our Covid safety and hygiene plan.

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