Return to Palm Island

A beautiful place with many contradictions

On 11-16 June, SOS Health Foundation made a second visit to Palm Island; a beautiful place with many contradictions. Situated 65 kilometres north west of Townsville, North Queensland, Palm is arguably, the largest discrete population of indigenous people in Australia.

Palm Island Team - Jun 12

A team of seven SOS staff and volunteers set off to serve and support this community. To observe, not judge; to learn, not ‘fix’; to identify inequalities in health services in comparison to those available to most other Australians; and to see how we can support and assist in bridging the gap – over the long term.

What a privilege it was to live among these warm and welcoming aboriginal people who call Palm home, and to have an opportunity to get to know a little more about them, their struggles and their hopes.

We met some wonderful people working in education, health and social services who do an amazing job with limited human resources, and constant delays due to the remoteness and limited accessibility. Our team participated in different activities including:

  • working with Jenny, PE teacher for both schools, as she prepared the kids for a sports carnival and a visit from Cathy Freeman
  • health promotion talks in the classroom;
  • massages for teachers and social services workers and volunteers
  • assembling new beds at Sandy Boyd (Aged Care) Hostel
  • baking classes for Ferdy’s Haven clients.

Word travels fast in a small community. After only two days, we were stopped in the street by people knowing who we were and wanting to acknowledge what we were doing; thanking us for our support.

We made some friends here.

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