Yipirinya Service Trip

In July 2014 a group of TAS students, some parents and staff made the journey to the magical Red Centre for a week’s holiday program at Yipirinya School, an independent school for disadvantaged Aboriginal students at Alice Springs. Yipirinya is a unique school where the teaching of four Central Australian languages is part of the curriculum.  Yipirinya’s Principal is former TAS Headmaster Ken Langford-Smith, and another staff member is James Howey, former TAS Counsellor Brother James.

As part of the daily routine, the group travelled on school buses to pick up children from town and bush camps, some of which have been identified as having amongst the poorest living conditions in Australia, with up to 20 family members in housing with poor sanitation. During the day, organised sporting, craft and science activities engaged the children, who were also given nourishing meals in a safe and positive environment.

While in our inaugural year our group helped run a school holiday activities program, in 2015 we will be visiting during Yipirinya term time, forging special friendships in and out of the classroom with students, helping with a maintenance project, as well as having the opportunity to take in some of the sites of Alice Springs including Desert Park, the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historic Reserve, and the Araluen Cultural Centre.

The trip concludes with a magnificent cultural expedition to Kings Canyon, Uluru and Kuta Tjuta, including a sacred Aboriginal site not open to the public.

The Yipirinya Service Trip is a powerful experience for all, and it is a privilege to help those living in what many consider to be third World conditions, right here in Australia. Participants gain a better understanding of the oldest living culture on Earth, as well as see some spectacular landforms that identify much of what it is to be Australian.

It also complements our commitment to bettering the opportunities for Aboriginal Australians through a community friendship program with Minimbah Aboriginal Primary School in our own neighbourhood, and our enrolment of 20 Indigenous students at TAS with the support of the Yalari Foundation and Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF).

Details of upcoming service trips can be found in the Parent Portal, in both the Leadership Service & Adventure, and Round Square, sections.

“The opportunity to participate in a service trip within Australia with my son was a wonderful experience. Although somewhat confronting at times, the Yipirinya experience enabled us to develop a greater understanding of and respect for Indigenous culture. Developing friendships with some of the children was a real highlight. After spending just over a week at the school, both Ben and I are more appreciative of just how fortunate we are. I thoroughly recommend this trip.” (Mr Tim Moffatt, parent)