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Students from Bendigo at the Prom

Students from Bendigo at the Prom

11 months ago from Parks Victoria

From Burma to the beach — local refugee students visit the Prom

Tuesday 8 July, 2014

A group of students with refugee backgrounds from Bendigo Senior Secondary College recently enjoyed a camp to Wilsons Promontory National Park.  The trip was organised as part of a Parks Victoria program to connect diverse communities to parks and enable them to enjoy the benefits of connecting with nature.

The 27 students from the Karen people (of Burma) spent four days camping at Tidal River where they swam, climbed Mt Oberon, went for walks and went fishing in the river. They also spent time with an Indigenous ranger, Luke Johnson, who shared his knowledge about the park and showed them how to throw a boomerang.

Mr Johnson said it was great to see the students having such a good time in the park, especially as many of them had not experienced the coast before.

“They were such a fun and patient group who were full of energy and all very enthusiastic. And some of the best boomerang throwers I’ve ever seen!

“I felt privileged to have had the chance to get to know a very special bunch of people,” he said. 

Mardi Holland from Bendigo Senior Secondary College said they were thankful to Parks Victoria for the opportunity.

“Some of our students had never been to the beach before so it was an amazing experience watching them run into the ocean for the first time. A number of our students commented that the surrounds at Tidal River reminded them of their home country. They loved the feeling of home, so that was extremely special to hear too,” she said.

“Most of our students have had little experience with Victoria’s parks. Now they have been to Wilsons Prom and seen all the fantastic experiences that our parks have to offer, they are keen to go back with their family and friends.”  

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