June 2011 – Beautiful Palm Island is situated 65 kilometres north west of Townsville, North Queensland at the beginning of the Great Barrier Reef. With the largest discrete population of indigenous people, Palm Island was identified as the fourth most disadvantaged community in Australia (ABS 2008). The contrast of the island’s beauty and laughing children made it difficult to reconcile with the sad history and poverty that surrounds the indigenous community inhabiting it.
SOS Health Foundation set out with a team of four to provide ‘equality of service and resources’ to this community by way of sports physiotherapy and support services to the children, their families and the general community; participating in the Cathy Freeman Challenge Netball Tournament. The tournament was organised by the Cathy Freeman Foundation and was sponsored by the Queensland Government. It brought together six school netball teams from Palm Island, nearby Magnetic Island and Townsville to integrate indigenous and non-indigenous children. The SOS team made a real connection with the children and people in this community. They captured our hearts.
We’re looking forward to a return visit in the future.