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. It 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 (565km SE), Wyndham (560km SE) and Derby (650km W). Access to the region is available by sea, air from Kununurra, Wyndham, Derby and Broome, and by unsealed road depending on seasonal conditions.

Kalumburu's climate is monsoon tropical with a protracted dry season and cyclonic wet season. Rainfall during 'The Wet' can be 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 daytime temperatures range from high 20s to low 30s, and nighttime temperatures can drop to 10 degrees. The Kalumburu Road is closed throughout the wet season each year, the duration of closure is dependent on rainfall and damage caused to the road. River height, mud, washaways and general road erosion can effect access typically from November 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 are the Kwini, Gulari, Wanambal, Gaambera and Worrora peoples. Family relationships spread from Broome through to Kununurra, and extend into the Pilbara and Northern Territory. Many families are transient between towns throughout the year.

The community of Kalumburu currently numbers around 450 people and is serviced by the school, community clinic, local police station, two stores (Uraro and Mission), and an administration office providing postal, banking and Centrelink services.

Missions of several religious orders were set up across the Kimberley during the early 1900's at a number of sites. 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 of 1932 to 1938. The Kalumburu Mission still plays an active role in the day-to-day activities of the residents of Kalumburu, running church services, a take-away store and diesel/unleaded fuel sales.

School Priorities
The School Strategic Plan 2018-2020 lists the priority areas for the school as high quality teaching, high care environment, and empowering community. The plan is currently under review for the next period. We implement Positive Behaviour Supports school-wide and have the four behaviour expectations of being Strong, Smart, Safe and Caring.

From 2019, the school has been part of the Kimberley Schools Project, a federally-funded initiative established to strengthen teaching pedagogy and improve outcomes for Kimberley students. The four pillars of the project are targeted teaching, better early years learning and care, regular attendance, and increased student and community engagement. Kalumburu School receives support in the form of professional learning, coaching and funding through its participation in the project.

In 2021, the school runs a 0-3 KindiLink program, two Early Years classes, four composite Primary classes and two composite Secondary classes.

Community participation and involvement in the school is actively encouraged. Parents of award recipients are personally invited to our weekly assembly, and attendance at carnivals and other events is promoted. The local Kwini language (Belaa) is taught to all classes through a weekly Language and Culture class, and each term a Stronger Smarter day celebrates Culture and achievement.