Saturday, June 16, 2012

Jervis Bay Territory

My work provides support for the leadership team at Jervis Bay School, situated in the Jervis Bay Territory, about 200km south of Sydney.  The Commonwealth of Australia acquired the land and sea that forms the Jervis Bay Territory in 1915 and established the Royal Australian Naval College there, which was reopened in 1958 as the HMAS Creswell. 

The Jervis Bay School was originally established back in 1914 to serve the families at the naval college. HMAS Creswell and the Jervis Bay School remain on Department of Defense (Navy) land within the JB Territory. The ACT ETD has run the school on behalf of the Australian Government since 1974.

The area is also home to the Wreck Bay Aboriginal community who won a historic and long fought land rights claim granting them ownership of all the lands and sea in the Jervis Bay National Park (now named the Booderee National Park) back in 1986.  The Wreck Bay Aboriginal community jointly manages the national park with the Australian Govt. under a lease arrangement. In 1965 the school at the Wreck Bay Aboriginal settlement was transferred to the Jervis Bay School.

 This all means that the principal of Jervis Bay School has a very complex environment in which to run his school.......but a very beautiful and mostly pristine physical environment.  Anyway he chose to orient our work team (and my trusty driver) to the physical environment first: the gorgeous Murray's Beach, across the bay from the naval college and the school, and then Greenpatch Beach....

Greenpatch is claimed to have Australia's whitest sand (and therefore the bluest sea) but on this rainy cold day it just looked wet and grey to us.

There's great facilities for campers but no other development at Greenpatch......

so the kangaroos, kookaburras and wombats pretty much rule here. The Rosella's were very much in charge too; and clearly hoping we did not know the don't feed the birds rule.

The principal (and his guests) is always a welcome visitor at the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community. In this pic below we're at one of the highest points in the village overlooking Summercloud Bay, a pristine spot for fishing, dolphin spotting, whale migration and good surfing under the right conditions.  The Wreck Bay community is a well run, tidy place but this wonderful location does make it difficult at times for the young people to stay at school when there are so many distractions (although at least they're healthy ones).

We spent an afternoon and morning at the Jervis Bay School.......gorgeous kids, great teachers but they do have to deal with a huge kangaroo problem. The kangaroos are everywhere, including one rogue one that recently had to be "dealt with" after bailing up the principal and two other big burly blokes in the playground.  There's kangaroo poo everywhere too - got to keep to the paths!

We stayed in Huskisson overnight and managed to fit in dinner at the Seagrass Brasserie, an amazing sunrise from the balcony of our motel room and a late delicious lunch at the Hyam's Beach Cafe before driving back to Canberra late on Friday afternoon.

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