August 10, 2021
Published on Friday 30 October, 2020
Sisters Lucy* and Sally*, who reside in a specialised foster placement in Perth, travelled recently to the Kimberley Region (Mirriwoong Gajerrong) to reconnect with family, friends, and the special places of their home Country.
A full week was allocated for the visit to allow the girls, aged 16 and 10, to spend quality time with family spread across several hundred kilometres of remote country. Accompanied by their Care Coordinator Sue Gray, the trip started with the trio flying into Kununurra from Perth.
The much anticipated first stop in Kununurra was visiting Karina*, the girls’ older sister. After tears and hugs and catching up on stories, Karina took the girls around town to visit aunties, uncles and cousins.
Sally said she felt the connection immediately.
“I just felt like I was home. To see Karina and all the cousins and all the kids – I knew I was home.”
The sisters and family members spent the day sightseeing around Kununurra and fishing and exploring around the river and dam. The girls were delighted to each catch several fish, though Nanna Sue was too busy watching for crocodiles to concentrate on fishing. After an adventure filled day the girls went with their Nanna Liz to spend the night with her in her community. It was magical evening, full of stories of people and places.
The next day Lucy, Sally and Sue set out on the seven-hour drive from Kununurra to Fitzroy Crossing. While Sue had been concerned the girls would find the long day of driving tedious, she was happily surprised when it was embraced.
“The girls really enjoyed the drive. We made games of looking out for things like caravans and cows, sang songs and chatted. It was a nice way to spend time together and they both told me it was one of their favourite parts of the trip.”
After meeting more family and sightseeing around Fitzroy Crossing, the trio travelled another two hours to (indigenous area name tbc) the remote community the girls grew up in. Uncle K took the sisters for a 4WD tour of the area and then onto a sacred waterhole for a Welcome to Country by the entire community.
After two nights with family in Fitzroy Crossing, the sisters and Sue made their way to Broome for ‘chill out’ day, ahead of the flight back to Perth. Sue said it was important for the girls to have that time to process and talk about the trip and reflect on who they’d met and what they’d seen, before going back to the city.
“During the trip we’d stopped at the place where the girls, their siblings and their mother had been in a severe car accident ten years ago – an accident in which their mum had been killed. Lucy had told me before we left Perth, she thought she would burst into tears when she went there, but she didn’t cry. She wasn’t sure what this meant and asked me why I thought she didn’t cry. I told her I thought it might be because she was in her Country, and knew she was surrounded by her family and protected with love.”
*Names have been changed.