the ruyton reporter
The fruit of your donations
Indigenous Research Award
In late 2010, Annabel Rodway and I received the first Ruyton Foundation Indigenous
Research Award. As part of this award the Ruyton Foundation paid for our
exchange to New Zealand and the Central Australia Dreamtime camp.The award
required the recipients to write a thesis on an aspect of these two cultures and
another culture of our choice. I based my research on how dance is incorporated
into these cultures and I also picked Indonesia as my third culture.
In May last year, Annabel and I participated in the Girls at the Centre Programme
and hosted two Aboriginal girls from Centralian Middle School in Alice Springs.
The girls stayed with us for one week and were able to see Melbourne and
experience such activities as going to the football, a Melbourne University tour
and a visit to the Marine Biology Centre in Queenscliff.
For a month in August, we went to St Peter’s School just outside Cambridge, New
Zealand. St Peter’s is a co-educational school set on a farm.The school is very large
and beautiful, and nearly half the students board. Annabel was able to stay with
her host sister Madison Duxfield on a dairy farm about an hour from the school.
I was accommodated in the boarding house with hostess Alex Crawshaw. On our
exchanges, we were both lucky enough to see Auckland and also participated in
New Zealand adventures such as bungee jumping, luging and jet-boat rides.
As part of Year 10 camp, our year level went on the ‘Dreamtime’ tour, a full report
of which is to be found elsewhere in the Ruyton Reporter.The Research Awards
gave Annabel and me an amazing experience, and we hope our theses will make
a difference to the understanding of cultures other than our own.
Georgina Bowden,
Year 11
Why should Indigenous Cultures be disadvantaged?
It is an internationally acknowledged fact that Indigenous cultures around the
world are disadvantaged compared to the non-Indigenous people. One of the
devastating ways in which this injustice is demonstrated is in the health area.
It is evident in the Australian Aboriginal, New Zealand Maori and the Canadian
Inuit indigenous groups, that their means of good health is significantly lower
than those of the non-Indigenous people, inhabiting that area.Through statistics
we can see the higher rates of chronic illnesses, infections, obesity, infant mortality
and multiple types of cancer in these Indigenous groups.The question is why?
And how can we stem its increasingly growing numbers?
What is the problem?
How did we, Australia, the country that prides itself on cultural diversity and
equality, come to this? The appalling state of our Indigenous health today is
a result of too many decades of neglect and inadequate healthcare services.This
poverty, caused by high unemployment rates, poor housing and education, racial
discrimination and government lack of care, all contribute towards our country’s
partially-existing deficiency in the health area.
In a 2007 report by the Australian Medical Association, evidence was uncovered
of the discrimination in our health system.This evidence proved that Australian
Indigenous groups do not benefit from our mainstream healthcare services for two
reasons: either they are located distantly from the medical centres/hospitals, and
cannot reach them easily, or they do not go by choice, for fear of the ‘unwelcoming
vibe’ that surrounds some of our doctors who are racially intolerant towards them.
The Australian Medical Association also estimates that $500 million a year is
needed to give Aboriginals the same level of access to primary healthcare as other
non-Indigenous Australians.This is something our Government is unwilling to do.
How do we solve it?
There are a many ways in which we could solve this problem of inequality but here are
the three ways I think would be the most effective: health promotion and education,
increase funding to Indigenous healthcare and continue with Close the Gap.
Health care promotion and education
Awareness programmes run in Indigenous schools have had a positive effect on
the way that some of the students care for themselves and their peers.There are
groups run by non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians alike, who go to many
Aboriginal communities and perform classroom discussions about personal health
and hygiene.This has been a success in the past, but if we had more of these
groups going to schools and communities more often, we may see an even larger
Increase funding to Indigenous healthcare
If more Australians see the damage to our healthcare system (in terms of our
Aboriginals) and the lack of work being done about it, there may be an outcry
against the Government, demanding more money be spent on our Indigenous
people’s well-being.The foundation of new charities and donations to the
healthcare system could really make a difference too.
Continue with ‘Close the Gap’
If the Close the Gap programme can continue, and improve, it could significantly
influence the development of groups similar to this.
Annabel Rodway,
Year 11
May she be swift, on fair
winds and smooth seas!’
Thanks to the continuing
generosity of Tony Mirabito
now a past parent) Ruyton
Rowing officially christened
their newest racing quad
The Mirabito Family 2
Bendigo recently. This is the
third boat to be contributed
by the Mirabito family, and is
only one of many examples
of Tony’s generosity to the
rowing programme.