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Goodooga is situated in North-Western NSW, approximately an hour’s drive west of Lightning Ridge. With a small indigenous community of about 250 people, the region has suffered years of drought, followed by massive flooding. As a result, the community faces challenges in offering opportunities for its children and youth. Back in 2019, CCA supported the local Goodooga Central School (GCS) with a volunteer trip, and we recognised the need for additional support for young people in this region.


Connecting Communities Australia worked with the local Aboriginal elders, Lavinia Williams (now on the CCA Advisory Board) a Yuwaalaraay woman, Goodooga Central staff and International Grammar School staff on the program. IGS strongly focuses on indigenous studies and reconciliation with teachers who contributed knowledge, vision, and dedication to the planning process. Two classrooms were transformed into dormitories for the IGS students with full use of the teaching kitchen.


The students engaged in the activities with open minds and respect and demonstrated a deep interest in understanding their fellow students’ different experiences.
In 2022, IGS student travel to Goodooga and IGS children partake in the Zoo Snooze program (stay overnight at Western Plains Zoo), immersion at Goodooga Central School. IGS children attend lessons with the Goodooga students, visit the Brewarrina Fish Traps, visit Aboriginal Museum, swim at the Artesian Hot Springs, activities at the school (painting, gardening, games), elders circle and smoking ceremony and plant a Cultural Garden at the school. After two postponements due to Covid, students from Goodooga travel to to Sydney in May 2023 for a week’s program with IGS and Barrenjoey High School, culminating with the inaugural SWT Indigenous Games.


Students, teachers and parents from both schools expressed how wonderful it was to experience the cultural knowledge from the Kamilaroi nation. It was a great sharing of wisdom, experiencing indigenous food, learning words in the Kamilaroi language and weaving baskets and bracelets.

In 2021 we visited Goodooga with 30 year-six students, five teachers and five volunteers from IGS; the reciprocal visit for Goodooga students to experience Sydney was unfortunately delayed until 2023 due to the impacts of COVID-19.