Conways Kids

Submitted: Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 09:53
ThreadID: 96127 Views:2153 Replies:5 FollowUps:10
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After reading thread 95124 below re the treatment of the Aboriginal people by the Europeans, I thought I'd start a new thread to give this a run for the whole ExplorOz community.

I have posted this on forums in the past, but I'll give it another go here.

We all see the TV ads regarding the kids starving in third word nations with little or no hope for their future, and those charities do great work without a doubt.

But we have kids in outback Australia living in similar conditions. Perhaps we should "clean up our own backyard first?"........

A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting one of the most beautiful places in Australia, Kings Canyon. Whilst there we visited Kings Creek Station, just down the road, and learnt about the great work that they are doing for the local under-privileged kids. (Amazingly, these kids are considered illiterate by the "powers-that-be".... yet often speak 4, 5 or 6 Aboriginal languages fluently!)

Conways Kids, ( are having success with a program that is providing real education for children from the Ukaka community, which is near Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory. I have personally supported this charity, and have encouraged our 4WD club to do so as well, and try to engender as much interest in it as I possibly can.

If you can spare a couple of hard-earned's for them, it's a very worthwhile thing to do!


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Reply By: olcoolone - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 10:49

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 10:49
Well put but like most things there are so many variables.

Not all communities accept outside help and use funds wisely.

Many individuals who receive help eventually turn back to their old ways through peer group pressure.

There are so many other honorable charitable organisations doing great work in the public's eyes.

Personnel donations are becoming a thing of the past and many are feeling the pinch.

Those who do give donations usually do so as they have a personnel connecting with the organisation involved..... They may of them selves or know someone close who has had Cancer, a Heart attack or a physical or mental disability....

As for the Australian government giving a helping hand, they have been burnt before!

As for the Australian government giving aid to other countries... under the United Nations we are expected to give aid, and it looks better to the rest of the world..... giving to a community doesn't have the same "front page headline" to the world as giving to a country in need of help.

And as for helping the community in general.... there are so many other social problems closure to our door steeps like the homeless, the old, the disabled and the unemployed that we forget about........ at night when it's cold and raining outside and we are tucking in to our evening meal in the comfortable and warm surrounding we have become custom to..... there are so many who could only dream of it and to them, that dream is so far away they just give up hope.

We are very sheltered from reality and the truth...... classic example is Bali... go 5 streets back from the resorts and bars (the place they don't like tourists going) and your in a third world country.

There are many fantastic groups doing some remarkable work in Australia and overseas who get very little recognition, support and public awareness for there fight and cause.

And a few last passing comments about how the indigenous people of Australia were treated by the Europeans..... that's in history so lets leave it there, lets talk about the future...... "could of", "has been" and "may of" should be put to rest.

You forgot to mention what the churches did to them back in the 50's....

Remember slave labour was still happening not that long ago and in some parts of the world it still is.

As I said before we are a funny bunch of creatures..... aren't we!

AnswerID: 488000

Follow Up By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 11:36

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 11:36
Hello there Fellow Fridgie.

With all due respect.

I think you might have missed my point.

My post was not to refer to the European bit as such, I only mentioned it to explain why I was posting it today, which is because I read that post. I agree that it should remain as "history".

I am personally not interested in Bali, never been there, never will. Not because I have anything against Bali, I don't! I believe we live in the best country in the world and I have no interest whatsoever in anywhere outside Australia.

My post is very simple.

The Conways aren't just talking about helping these people, they're actually doing something for them. A lot of the support they are giving is coming from their own pocket. And it is a huge amount of money they are investing. All they ask is for a little help if possible. Speak to them about the government being burned before..... it's not just the Aboriginals who have burned the government.

I didn't mention the Church and what they did, because I do not discuss religion/s at all if possible. The Aboriginals aren't the only people that the Church have ill treated.

I am fully aware of how people have less money these days. I regularly answer phone calls from charities that I have supported in the past but can no longer support. (I fell from a 5m ledge in January and am still recovering from 14 broken ribs, 3 broken vertebrae and my pelvis broken in 3 places. I am still recovering and won't return to work for some time, if at all. I mention this not for sympathy, merely to explain that I have had to cut out my support of many such organizations.)

I am not demanding that people make a donation..... just saying that if anyone was looking for a charity, have a look at this one. If people are travelling and visit Kings Canyon, even staying at Kings Creek Station will help.... as the Conways own KCS, then a portion of the money generated from there goes towards supporting the kids.



FollowupID: 763218

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 15:18

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 15:18
Long time no hear Brian... sorry about you miss hap.

I agree with you cause and think it's fantastic, the big problem what we face personally and as a business is what and who do we donate to.

My post was just general chit chat.

This type of donation to an organisation like this one are the ideal one's to support.... you can see an improvement and where you hard work is going unlike most others.

There is a couple over here in S.Aus doing the same and started it of there own back but unlike your in Australia they are helping communities in Cambodia.

I think there has to be more public awareness to unknowing little organisations that are at the coal face working with little recognition but make a big impact now and in the future.

How did you get involved in it?

By the way have you sold that Tvan thing and bought an Ultimate yet:)
FollowupID: 763227

Follow Up By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 17:24

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 17:24
How did you get involved in it?

I'm not personally involved at all, just that I have made donations and managed to generate some extra donations for them over the last couple of years. Some weeks after you and I met at Clayton Station back in 2010, we found ourselves visiting Kings Canyon and had booked ourselves in for a camel ride at Kings Creek Station. We had a coffee after the camel ride and discovered the Stock Camp Show that runs most nights there, so we headed back at 7pm to watch it.
Along with the day to day rigours of life in a stock camp, the show concentrated on KCS owner Ian Conway and his family story as well as much history of the district. This segued into what he and his wife Lyn are doing via their charity, Conways Kids. As well as the kids education thing, they are teaching the adults in this community to farm camels and export them overseas, and run the business properly, pay their bills and taxes. So they have an interest in helping the adults of this community as well as the kids. It touched me that there are people who are devoting themselves to help their fellow man, no matter what circumstances may be. I think it's a great cause, and something good is coming from it!! I know that this is one out of many communities that need help, but hopefully, like Paul Kelly sang.... "From little things, big things grow"......

By the way have you sold that Tvan thing and bought an Ultimate yet:)

LOL.... No, not yet. I'm still hoping to be well enough to go remote travelling again in the near future, so I'll stick to my Tvan the truly "Ultimate" off road trailer! (if you'll pardon the obvious pun...) LOL.....




FollowupID: 763241

Reply By: belinda n - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 13:42

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 13:42
Its a great organisation :) It is also fantastic as Ian has a family ties to many of the poeple in the area and has a strong understanding of the country, its people and what they want for their children. Nice to see someone promoting such a great cause.
AnswerID: 488012

Follow Up By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 14:11

Saturday, Jun 09, 2012 at 14:11
Yes, it is a great cause. We were lucky enough to not only see the Stock Camp show twice while we were out there in 2010, but Ian Conway conducted the second one himself. It is something that I feel drawn to, and am more than happy to promote it wherever I possibly can.

Many thanks for your kind words Belinda.



FollowupID: 763224

Reply By: Hairy (WA) - Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 14:27

Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 14:27
Sounds like a good cause.
But they would also have access to Yirrara College which has boarding facilities and a bus service. Centre for Appropriate Technology which has a bus, accommodation and will even deliver training packages in there own community if wanted. Batchelor institute for Aboriginal Education, which will deliver education in town or there own community and Institute for Aboriginal development who will do the same. Free bus services are available and they would also have access to every other form of eduction that non-indigenous kid would and all within a couple of hundred kms from there own community.
There is no lack of training organisations in this area....just a lack of willing participants.

Good on them for giving it a go any way.

AnswerID: 488079

Follow Up By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Monday, Jun 11, 2012 at 09:36

Monday, Jun 11, 2012 at 09:36
"Good on them for giving it a go any way."


These people are putting their money where their mouth is. I don't profess to know the entire story.... only what I learned out at KCS 2 years ago, and it seemed to me that here was somebody giving these people a helping hand. Again, I don't know the details but am under the impression that education in the local area's out there has it's own set of problems, hence the use of boarding schools in Adelaide. It's my understanding that these kids are benefiting greatly from this opportunity, and at the end of the debate, isn't that what matters most?



FollowupID: 763345

Follow Up By: Hairy (WA) - Monday, Jun 11, 2012 at 12:27

Monday, Jun 11, 2012 at 12:27
Gday Brian,
No, the educational opportunities available in that area are very good with lots of choices. And the funding available for Aboriginal students who are willing to learn is absolutely mind blowing.
I don't want to turn this into an argument as it wasn't my intention, just a discussion and to point out what Ive seen over the years. My opinion is most aboriginal kids aren't lacking educational opportunities any different to non aboriginal kids who live out of the cities. In fact, they have more opportunities as a lot of the funding available is for Aboriginals ONLY.
In saying that I think we already are donating massive amounts of money to remote Aboriginal youth through taxes and sponsoring a non aboriginal kid through boarding school would be better use of excess funds as they miss out on a lot of funding.

Do a search on the organisations I mentioned above and include" Desert Knowledge Precinct", "The Dessert Peoples Centre"," Bushlight"etc.
This precinct didn't pop up over took years of discussions with the very people it was built for so if you think these have problems you should contact them and give them your advice because we have all just paid in excess of $35 million building this establishment.

Congratulations to Ian and Lyn, they are good people with their hearts in the right place, doing their bit to put something back into the community. I have absolutely no issues with what they are doing what so ever.

What I do disagree with is people people comparing remote communities with third world countries, calling Aboriginal kids underprivileged, stating they have no real education already provided and claiming we need to look after our own back yard as if we are neglecting it.

Can I just clear a few things up as I see them?
When I leave a community after a building job, The house has running water, power, sewerage, doors windows and paint. It is left in the same condition has any one else's house. Most communities have a store, petrol pump, medical facility or regular visits by Flying doctor and a bore field. How this all gets treated when we leave is not my fault. So when you compare them to 3rd world countries I find it a bit insulting.
While working in Aboriginal education for an organisation which covers the whole NT I got to learn a bit about opportunities and funding in this area, and I can assure you that if a community puts their hand up and asks for education, they get it. Delivered in their own back yard if needed.
As for boarding school as far as Im concerned, there are more aboriginal scholarships and funding opportunities than there are willing participants. By the way.....It costs over $8000 to send my Daughter to Ag College.......I miss out on all the grants etc because I live 2km to close to a State school and she's not disabled and not Aboriginal........I now only see her every few weeks as its a 920km trip to get her home for the weekend.

And last but not least Im not sure what you have been doing to look after your own backyard in respect to Aboriginal people but I feel like Ive done my bit. I get my warm and fuzzies when Aboriginal people ring me up from 1000s of km away for a chat not buy giving them more money.

Dont take this long winded blurt personally Brian, as its just my opinion, its a bit close to home and is directed generally at what I think a common misconception about conditions on aboriginal communities not just your post.

Cheers Hairy

FollowupID: 763365

Follow Up By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 12:45

Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 12:45
Hi Hairy,
No, I'm not taking it personally and I would ask you to do the same please. For a start, you have much more experience than me with this given that it's actually YOUR backyard more than mine. Please read my explanation elsewhere on this thread to see my involvement, it is simply something that I feel I can contribute to. Not for any otber reason other than Ian Conway convinced me as part of his presentation that it was something worthwhile. I had no intention of insulting anyone with this or any other thread. It does makes me feel that I'm doing my bit. I have donated personally, I have encouraged our 4WD club to donate and also I wrote a book, self published a limited amount and donated the profits from tbat. Ian's story touched me. As far as what is already available, you would need to discuss local politics with him rather than me.

Not intended to offend.



FollowupID: 763485

Follow Up By: Hairy (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 20:05

Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 20:05
Gday Brian,

Sorry.....I may have read more into your post than what was actually there. I took it more of a poor bugger me story than bloke doing the right thing.
My apologies.

FollowupID: 763517

Follow Up By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 06:58

Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 06:58
Hi Hairy,

Thanks for that, no problem.



FollowupID: 763543

Reply By: Rockape - Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 15:08

Sunday, Jun 10, 2012 at 15:08
it is a good scheme and hopefully it will bring a few through and obtain a higher education.

This is a story of the sad side. Many years ago I was at Weipa south mission having a beer with the manager. He was really upset about what had happened when a new government came to power. Now I don't wish this to turn into a political football as both sides of politics have done the wrong thing in this area.

The do gooders advising the new government said that there would be no more coupons given out to purchase cloths, books and food. They said that this demeaned the people and instead decided cheques would be the go. Now many of those cheques didn't get out of the front door of the pub so the kids now had no shoes, books and clothes to go to school. Also many went hungry.

The manager was so upset if a politician had arrived in town I think he would have hurt them. Many of the kids were bright but now they didn't go to school and even get a basic education.

Their culture is different to ours in that they must share what they have. Example of this is when I went into the Cape York pub and saw an old life long friend drunk as drunk can be I asked him why. His answer was my relations are coming from Marpoon tomorrow and I am going to drink all my money before they do.

All the best and get well,
AnswerID: 488081

Follow Up By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Monday, Jun 11, 2012 at 09:51

Monday, Jun 11, 2012 at 09:51
Hi RA,

Yes, that is a sad tale and one that is visible to far too many people I guess. I don't see it as a political thing really, I see it as government departments (who don't know) assigning "committee's" to solve or at least work through issues that they know very little about, those "committee's" don't delve far enough into the real issues to find out the real story and seem to be more inclined to drag things out in view of job self preservation. (My opinion.... not saying it's true!)

I have heard a tale of a federal grant issued to help Aboriginal people with welfare, by the time people were hired, an office space rented furnished and redecorated, a company car purchased and too many staff wages budgeted for the coming year, little or no money remained for the actual original "cause". This may or may not be hear-say, but it sounds to me similar to things I have witnessed in local government here in SE Qld over the years.

A funny thing, in Coober Pedy, a tour guide went to great lengths to explain that the derelicts who seemed to inhabit the streets represented only 10% of the local Aboriginal population, the rest of them were too busy working to be seen! A local in Alice Springs told me much the same thing.

With the Conways, they're opening their wallets to try something different, and I applaud them for that. If just one of these kids makes a better life for him/her self, then it's a success!

FollowupID: 763347

Reply By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 09:01

Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 09:01
Hi Brian

Its so hard to see kids of any description being hard done by as they so often the innocent.

But so much of this has its root cause elsewhere , and until we become a more inclusive society nothing much will change.

Every time someone is turned away from climbing the rock or locked out of somewhere , or is given a hard time about sailing on a temporay lake then you might as well tear up another potential soucre of support.
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 488347

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