Kalumburu Remote Community School (5236)

School Overview

Kalumburu - meaning 'Path By The River or River Crossing' is the most northerly Aboriginal Community in Western Australia and is situated on the banks of the King Edward River beside a long, deep billabong at the upriver end of Malindjar Gorge. The nearest townships to Kalumburu are Kununurra (565 kms S.E.), Wyndham (560 kms S.E.) and Derby (650 kms. W) Access to the region is available by sea, air from Kununurra, Wyndham and Derby/Broome and by unsealed road depending on seasonal conditions.

Kalumburu is situated at latitude 14 degrees south; the climate is Monsoon Tropical with a protracted Dry season and cyclonic Wet season. Rainfall during the Wet is extreme and cyclonic presence inhibits movement around the area. Wet season temperatures range up to 40 degrees Centigrade and humidity is often in the high 80 - 90% level. Dry season temperatures range from 18 degrees through 28 degrees. The Kalumburu Road is closed from November 1st through to April 1st each year, washaways and general road erosion effect access to the region generally until early to mid May of the following year. The community is serviced by an all weather airstrip with night landing facilities.

Continuous habitation of the area appears certain for more than 5,000 years with some research suggesting that habitation could have occurred as long ago as 70,000 years. The prominent tribal groupings of the region encompass the Gwini (Kwini) Waanambal, Gambera and Worrora peoples. Family relationships spread from Broome through to Kununurra and relate to the existence of the various Missions of several religious orders set up during the early 1900's at a number of sites.

The Community of Kalumburu currently numbers around 600 people it is serviced by the school, community clinic, community store including takeaway, administration office providing postal, banking and Centrelink services.

Formerly the 'Drysdale River Mission', Kalumburu Mission was founded in 1908 by Benedictine missionaries from New Norcia. The original settlement was at Pago some 30 kilometres to the North East of present day Kalumburu. Shortage of water to serve the growing numbers of mission staff and aboriginal residents prompted a move to the present site in the period 1932 to 1938. The Kalumburu Mission still plays an active role in the day to day activities of the residents of Kalumburu, running a caf┬┐, take-away store and fuel services.

School Priorities
Kalumburu has a high percentage of Aboriginal students and the targets are Literacy and Numeracy. From 2005 onwards, the school will be part of the Aboriginal Literacy Strategy that is being established as a state-wide procedure for addressing literacy needs in Aboriginal students. The process seeks to provide a uniform teaching strategy that meets the needs of a highly mobile and transient population of students.

In the early years of education, the school takes part in the Indigenous Language Speaking Students programme. This is a focus on Standard Australian English for use with students who have English as a second language or dialect. Teachers are expected to adopt and use ESL strategies for most of the students throughout the school. We are developing strategies that embody a team approach to lesson delivery.

The school is also focussing on increasing the level of community participation and involvement in the school. We are facilitating the teaching of traditional story, dance and art as well as promoting the use of the Kwini language.
Our AIEO's are participating in the district Capacity Building Program to further strengthen their role as a bridge between the school and aboriginal culture.