To house homelands communities into the future
Why this vision?
The Jack Thompson Foundation Homeland Building Program addresses Unemployment and Housing shortages. The foundations projects seek to address these through an integrated learning program with practical on the ground skills.
The aim is to facilitate the teaching of indigenous Australians, how to build their own houses out of the materials and resources available in their own country: the “living ground”.
The threads of this endeavour include:
- Forestry disciplines, logging extraction & milling, techniques with equipment readily available or available at a reasonable low cost. Typically chain saws, chain saw mills and portable mills.
- Building post & beam construction, carpentry, concreting, plastering, using local timber, sands and colours.
- Setting up a workers camp in the remote Australian bush encompassing a cross-cultural learning exchange. The camp will involve setting up of hot & cold-water showers, ablution, systems for waste management and temporary accommodation for up to 25 workers. Covering all aspects from menu’s, ordering, butchering, bread making and baking.
- Facilitation for the provision of training manuals, using diagrams where possible. Training video’s dubbed in the local indigenous language with English sub titles.
- Occupational Health and Safety is often neglected in remote locations. However the Foundation views OHS as a major issue and will be covered in all training modules reinforced and monitored at all times.
- The intention is to provide mentors and to facilitate the training in all the above areas and when the foundation group move to the next homeland the remaining indigenous workers can continue to build. Funding will be sought to allow the foundation to leave the homeland with the equipment necessary to continue building. By example we would like to be able to provide those that have completed the forestry disciplines with a chain saw and the community with a chain saw mill.
- We would also like to be in the position where by we can supply ongoing assistance with camp co coordinators, chefs, bricklayers, carpenters etc. when and where required.
If five people can teach the skills necessary for a holistic approach to the housing shortages in remote Australia, then 5 turns into 30, which in turn becomes 300. With the original foundation members moving from one homeland to another, taking indigenous trainees from one area to another so that they gain skills, to continue the work of the foundation long after the teaching group has moved on.
Sustainable redevelopment in remote Australia can only happen if ordinary Australians lend a “hand up”, to the people living in the country.
No other program attempts to address all the diverse and often contradictory elements of the puzzle. For instance in existence today there are mud brick works where 7500 bricks can be made in a week but no one has been taught to lay bricks. No bricklaying courses are offered. Rangers have chainsaw accreditation, but with no instruction on tree felling and saw milling, the processes required before and after the use of chainsaws. Let alone a simple building program as established by the Jack Thompson Foundation.
In the future the Jack Thompson Foundation will help communities forward their goals in many ways. Our intention is to facilitate the training of local indigenous people to provide for their housing needs now and in to the future.
One of the Jack Thompson Foundations goals is to support the participants to assist the communities to succeed in long term employment opportunities and income generation. With the indigenous workers gaining skills that will allow them to continue on a practical level or seek further education in the construction industry to become building designers, quantity surveyors, civil engineers, carpenters or builders, perhaps even transport and logistics.
It is very important to the long term success of this venture that we do not create an unnecessary administrative bureaucracy.
Our aim is to develop the community skills to resolve housing needs, whilst allowing the Indigenous Communities to develop their own future aspirations.
The Jack Thompson Foundation is not necessarily the solution but a medium through which we might improve the skill base of indigenous Australians in order that they can continue the education and training work of the Foundation, calling on the Foundation for support where necessary.