Fourteen of Encounter’s Year 9-11 students embarked upon their inaugural tour to Central Australia last month, with their primary aim being to connect with the Arrernte people of Ntaria (Hermannsburg), 130km west of Alice Springs.
Originally established by Lutheran missionaries from Germany, Ntaria is steeped in history, but also has an active community in 2018.
Encounter students were privileged to hear the world renowned Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir sing, along with seeing the Hermannsburg Potters in action, whose art is sought after from collectors across the globe. Students also visited the former home of Albert Namatjira, landscape painter and Ntaria’s most famous resident.
In addition to bringing them greater awareness of the contribution of Indigenous Australians, students enjoyed a 4WD adventure to Palm Valley, camping by the fire and sleeping under the stars in swags. On their route back to Victor Harbor, the group from Encounter also visited Uluru and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), walking 20km in one day to fully absorb the environment, the red dirt and the sunset. Their final night was spent underground at Coober Pedy.
One Encounter student described the trip as ‘life changing and amazing’, with all students identifying their time at Ntaria School as one of many memorable experiences.
Head of Middle and Senior School Penny McKenzie said “it was one of the most transformational experiences I have ever had with children”.
“The empathy, compassion and engagement with communities was phenomenal. Students have not stopped talking about the trip and the emails we have received from parents of students who went has been so positive. Feedback is that the trip impacted positively on their child,” Ms McKenzie said.
Principal Kelvin Grivell said “Encounter actively seeks to provide young people with experiences that will inform and shape their perspective on life and their future pathways and look forward to reinforcing their partnership with the Ntaria community in future trips to Central Australia.”