PNG Immersion 2015


On Thursday 16th April, Miss Angela Collins, Mr Andrew Nielsen, Jake Weise, Jack McNab, Nick Keppel, Tyson Flamsteed, Liam Mortlock, Mitch Revell, Sean Scanlan, Matt Hart, Pat Collins and Clay Hall travelled from St Mary's College, Toowoomba to Kavieng, New Ireland Province, PNG. The next day we ventured to Fangalawa Village where we were very warmly welcomed in a traditional manner. Over the four days spent in the village, we experienced a village tour and a traditional meal of a ‘mumu’. We also refurbished the Elementary school by finishing doors, walls and enclosing the windows. This now means that the school is able to be locked and the teacher and students can leave work at school and decorate their rooms.

Following a very sad farewell from the village and saying goodbye to new friends, we returned to Kavieng town where the boys attended OLSH International School. They worked in Year 11/12 classes; helped out in Prep to Year 3 classes and participated in a touch game against OLSH. On Thursday, the boys attended a Marine Biology excursion to Nago Island and finished the day by attending a school dance, where the St Mary’s boys were ‘outdanced’ at times by amazing break dancing. Friday saw the boys attending a school mass with 4 of our boys dressed traditionally to do a dance for the Offertory Procession. From here, we went to Sacred Heart Primary School and spent some time in classes here to see a different educational setting. In the afternoon, we were farewelled at a school assembly and presented with gifts. Throughout the week, we also painted and cleaned the Cenotaph in preparation for Anzac Day.

On Saturday morning, we attended the Dawn Service and raised the flags and presented a wreath on behalf of the College. Following this we went to the Town Market and to the cemetery to visit the graves of 3 Gallipoli serviceman – a great honour indeed. We then saw a Japanese gun and later went snorkelling a plane that was sunk during WWII between Nusa Island and Kavieng. A very memorable Anzac Day! On Sunday, we went snorkelling and swimming at Limellon Island before saying our final farewells on Monday.  At our stopover in Port Moresby, we met Kurt Fearnly, an Australian Paralympic Champion who has completed the Kokoda track – an absolute privilege for the boys. Thanks to Mr Anderson for picking us up from the airport and bringing us safely home to cold Toowoomba.

This was a truly life giving and changing experience for the boys (and staff) involved and we appreciate everyone who helped get us to PNG through fundraising and organisation. Special thanks to Ms Sharon Collins, Mrs Cathy Smith, Mr Ed Gleeson and Mrs Anne Sleeman for your assistance throughout the Immersion process. Thanks also to Mr Michael Newman for allowing the boys to experience such an amazing adventure. Mr Greg Neville (Principal of OLSH) also deserves our utmost thanks for his help and guidance throughout the Immersion.

Miss Angela Collins

PNG Immersion Coordinator














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