By Luke Abdy, Year 9
This week we focus on Cathedral’s youngest international boarders, Augustine – or as referred to by his peers as Gus (Year 9) – and his older sister Vanessa (Year 11), from Papua New Guinea. The brother sister duo has had a rather unique change of scenery for their school holidays this year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Gus and Vanessa were unable to return to their home in Papua New Guinea for any of the school holidays in 2020, instead they stayed in North Queensland. The two returned to boarding at the beginning of Term 1 in 2020. Vanessa recalled being extremely happy as she would be getting her own room and Gus equally as happy as he could see his friends again.
Since then the Tame kids haven’t returned to their home, staying in Australia as a result of the border closures. In a recent interview Gus and Vanessa said that they kept themselves pretty busy exploring outback North Queensland over the holidays staying with their aunty in Townsville, and friends from boarding on two occasions.
In the Term 1 holidays Vanessa and Gus spent the holidays living with their auntie, who lives in Townsville. Gus said that most days they would go to The Strand or Riverway which kept them pretty busy. In Term 2 Vanessa was offered to go home with one of her friends from boarding – Jessica Whitehead. The Whiteheads have a property out of Winton (Mentone Station) where Vanessa spent the entirety of her Term 2 holidays.
While at Mentone, Vanessa said she got to take part in many station activities such as branding a calf, learning how to drive a car and visiting Winton. Gus joined Vanessa at the station for the final weeks of the Christmas holidays. Gus said that he enjoyed having a station life experience and he got to go swimming in the dam, kayaking, driving a car and buggy, and going on bore runs with Jess’s brother Nathan. In the interview the two reflected on how boarding school has helped them grow as individuals.
Vanessa and Gus said that by being in the dormitories they have learnt many life-lessons such as – how to save money, responsibility and the value of respect. Gus and Vanessa said they are excited to return to the schooling year and also hope to return home soon.