Monthly Archives: February 2015

Seeing with new eyes


Hello everyone, I have  just done an interview on the 105.7  local Darwin ABC with Lisa Pellegrino, about Cyclone Lam’s damage to our community and our school garden. It will be on the radio tomorrow afternoon after 2pm.

Lots of damage happened to our garden but the Cyclone also helped the garden in a way. Now we can move all our ugly, broken garden beds and create more interesting garden beds.

We can also change the way we enter the garden so that we always visit the chickens first and make it our zone 2. The old entrance is blocked by the builders anyway, so its a good time to make some changes. 

We would like to create more artistic and fun paintings for the garden while we wait for it to grow back. We can make more teepees and places for kids to play or have a rest. And we can take down the last bit of the fences because we want a more open plan.

Some new buds are coming back on the mulberry trees so they are very fast growing and tough trees and we will be sharing lots of cuttings in the community because they will be good for the next cyclone. Our shade house was bent and the back blew off, but our Mulberry cuttings survived.

The bananas have been cut back and have new leaves unfolding and the pawpaws have new leaves growing too.


When I first saw the garden at school I was shocked because there was too much sunlight. It will be very hot when we work down there now.


Luckily we picked all the bananas before the cyclone so we will still get our yield from the trees.

Right now we are in Wendy’s garden and Serina is digging up sweet potato because they all survived too. We are getting so many ideas for making our gardens better at coping with cyclones by looking at what has survived.


Now that I am here playing with the chickens and taking action shots of them, I feel like there is more than human life surviving here and it gives me hope.DSC00384DSC00366

By Faith Stevens

Inspiration for Galiwin’ku


In the midst of the chaos, comes this inspirational story about a strong Yolngu lady from Galiwin’ku, Rachel Baker. She says she drew strength from this community and recent events, to complete her latest marathon.

Her achievements will, in return, do the same for us.

Items to Donate


As the cleanup continues, new ideas about ways to help our garden as well as kids at their homes keep springing up. I will start a list here, and keep adding to this post as we go. If you were able to donate even one pair of garden gloves or a school hat that your kids have grown out of, it would help us immensely.

Our postal address is ; Wendy Hughes, c/o Shepherdson College, PMB 74, Via Winnellie, NT 0822

– garden gloves with rubber (nitrile) palms – secatuers or tree pruners – timer hand saws or pruning saws – tool sharpeners – broad brimmed hats – slip on shoes (croc style) – worms (red tiger for worm farms) – temporary shade structures – items we could sell at our community markets Stay tuned…. and thanks!

Road to Recovery


The response to our call-out for help after cyclone Lam has been inspiring.

Our local ALPA store pledged their ongoing support of our Garden by offering manpower for replanting and help with fundraising. Community members have also been extremely sympathetic and compassionate in their support of the students and offers of cuttings, despite not having much left in their own gardens.

A huge thanks to Ewen for clearing the road into the garden so we could access it by car and begin our big clean up. Also to Tony and Jiminga for helping fix the chook fence and chop down the bananas and rescue some suckers. These will be so valuable to our community now as there will be a gap in fruiting for some time.

A collective of community gardeners in Darwin have shown instant initiative and support by putting out a request for quick-growing tropical plants to send out. If you are in Darwin head along to their fundraiser and film night.

And so many of you responded to the blog post or to me via email that I cant thank you all, but know that each response filled me with hope. Our students are not back until next Monday, but they will be excited to discover that the rest of the world has not forgotten them.

If you would like to donate to our rebuild, at this stage, we really need bulk mulch, compost and soil to refill our depleted beds and fast growing fruiting trees like pawpaws. There is simply nothing on the island and all garden resources need to be shipped in by barge. No amount is too small, and you can email me on;

Or if you would prefer to send something for the kids, please send zinnias, marigolds or any seeds that wil bring some instant brightness to our community! Frivolous items for general cheer also much appreciated!

With so many Green-thumbed friends out there, we are beginning to see new projects emerge and whilst our garden may not be the same as it ever was, maybe it will be even better and we will be out there re-greening Galiwin’ku!



Daily sight about town


Brand new view of the sunrise, sans trees on Gukuda street

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Green inside my yard (sweet potato weathered the storm) but trees stripped bare beyond

Cyclone Lam


On Thursday evening, Cyclone Lam came to Galiwin’ku and the town is still coming to terms with the damage we sustained. Our power has been restored, (correction…is being restored) but so many fallen trees are still in yards or on houses and need clearing. With no hardware store in town, residents are trying their best with limited hand tools, but it will be a long process. It is also hard to take in a town without our beautiful big mahoganies, mango trees and coconut palms. Almost every tree has been stripped of leaves or they are brown and windburnt. Some of these trees were as old as the community.

It has hit our garden at school very hard too. Hard to put into words the devastation I feel after three years of hard work by myself and the kids. Our garden has brought so much joy to our students and people in the community have been expressing their sadness about the loss. Gardens do grow back, but not without a huge amount of effort, time, money and passion and the community have acknowledged how much their children have invested in theirs.


Our bananas have all fallen down and are irreplaceable with Banana Freckle affecting so much of the Territory. We do have some suckers in the ground and with careful care and attention, these may be up and fruiting in a couple of years. DSC00318

But out of the debris, the amazing chickens have survived unruffled and have all continued laying eggs! They spent the days leading up the the cyclone playing in the rain and then spent the night perched on their roost despite the winds raging around them. A tree has fallen on their fence and needs removing and the fence repairing, but other than that, they are fine.


So some mixed news and feelings, with a long road ahead. But if any of you gardeners out there can spare some cuttings, donate some soil, compost or mulch, offer emotional support to the students (who have lost their gardens at home too) we would really really appreciate it. I dont know how, or if, we can rebuild our school garden, but Galiwin’ku community needs re-greening!

Thanks, Wendy Hughes

Jellyfish Facts



Yesterday afternoon, Tiyrel was reading a fiction book called ‘My Dad’. In the story, Dad swims with stinging jellyfish and he is brave.

Tiyrel loved that story, so he decided to get a fact book about dangerous sea animals and he compared the jellyfish pages.

By Ellemor 8

Mercy for the Bali Nine


Indonesian police escort Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

On the news, people are arguing about two Australian men being executed in Indonesia, Bali. Their names are Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

I think it will be very sad and bad for these two men’s parents to go through these executions. It will be hard for their parents to stay happy when their adult children are going to meet their death. Their hopes have gone out of their hearts. I hope they get let go and come back to Australia and spend their lives in this safe country. They would feel very happy and grateful to spend their lives in a much safer jail and they would be much happier that they get to keep their lives. 

Even if they did hurtful things like try and transport drugs that can kill people, they shouldn’t just get shot, that is not the real solution. The real solution is to make sure they never do it again. They should both get a second chance just like the other seven people who tried to bring the drugs to Australia. We all deserve a second chance, we all deserve to live a life free of the fear of death.

Being in jail has changed their lives and made them better, more helpful people to others. 

By Faith Djomala Stevens

Teamwork with e-block!


Ellemor 5 and 8


Yesterday we  went down  the garden with Ellemor 5  and we were working  together as a  team. 

We were weeding in the garden.

We had to wear gloves and shoes in the garden because it is the wet season and Meliodosis is a problem at this time of the year.

 Ellemor 5 help us weed all of the beds and they were a bit silly at the beginning but in the end they were very helpful to the garden.

We all came back together and ate ice blocks with Ellemor 5.

By Sylvia Gemiyala

Welcome Back To The Garden Everyone!


Hello Everyone, it is a brand new year.

This year in the garden the everything has changed. There was meant to be no garden this year and Wendy the old garden teacher is now a classroom teacher.

But I did not want that to happen and so did not Wendy, so Wendy’s class have been looking after the garden. It is starting very good.

We are Ellemor eight kids. We have been cleaning up the garden and started mulching .


I would like to say that there are builders working on a new class room for secondary and our deck is changed we are no longer allowed to use the small secondary deck and the big deck or our fruit trees.


But there are lots of big sweet potatoes in the garden and our chickens are still alive because the Galiwin’ku ALPA workers have been feeding our chickens. We still need to clean up our green shade house and do some weeding before we start planting new seeds.

That’s all folks bye

 From Faith