St John in Onslow for NAIDOC week 2016
“This project is incredibly important as it encourages more people to learn first aid skills, while forging authentic relationships with regional and remote Aboriginal groups."
“Improved health and well-being is a key initiative of the Thalanyji people and making first aid training available to all our members has been an important objective.”
A St John Ambulance initiative to better engage with regional and remote Aboriginal communities in WA will be introduced to the Pilbara town of Onslow during NAIDOC Week 2016 celebrations.
The St John Aboriginal Ambulance Services Project aims to encourage greater participation in first-aid training and the ambulance services among regional communities.
Funded by Royalties for Regions, the program’s centrepiece is a uniquely-designed ambulance emblazoned with artwork by renowned artist Jilalga Murray. The design represents ‘figures coming together and being wrapped in the good services of St John’.
The Aboriginal-designed ambulance is part way through a 12-month tour of regional WA, having already visited the Goldfields and Midwest.
During NAIDOC Week, St John volunteers and ambulance officers have run first-aid training sessions with school children in Onslow as well as working closely with the Burrabalayji Thalanyji Aboriginal Corporation.
St John North West Regional Manager Andrew Graffen said the Aboriginal Ambulance Services Project was an important initiative aimed at forging closer relationships with Indigenous communities.
“This project is incredibly important as it encourages more people to learn first aid skills, while forging authentic relationships with regional and remote Aboriginal groups,” Mr Graffen said.
“The Aboriginal-designed ambulance has visited the local school in Onslow, where it has been greeted with much curiosity. Students have been able to step inside the ambulance, check out the equipment and meet local ambulance officers, as well as being taught first aid.”
The Burrabalayji Thalanyji Aboriginal Corporation marked NAIDOC Week by securing ambulance cover for their 60-plus membership to ensure they are covered for ambulance use in an emergency.
Corporation CEO Matthew Slack said going forward they plan to invite St John regular into their community to deliver more first aid programs.
“Improved health and well-being is a key initiative of the Thalanyji people and making first aid training available to all our members has been an important objective,” said Mr Slack.
“This critical partnership allows access to first aid training at all levels throughout the entire community of Onslow and we are proud to be part of the team bringing this to our community.”
The St John Aboriginal-designed ambulance will continue from Onslow to tour the Pilbara and Kimberly for the remaining part of 2016.