Ethan Cowan saving Bailey Cowan Oakleigh Station Via EinasleighFamilies living on remote grazing properties in the Gulf Savannah region had the opportunity to take time out and learn some important water skills when they came together for Camp Cobbold this month.

Frontier Services Savannah Regional Health Service partnered with the North Queensland Royal Lifesaving to conduct a number of Learn to Swim and lifesaving activities for the 170 adults and children who attended the Camp at Cobbold Gorge from October 3-7.

Primary Health Care Nurse Anna Burley said Camp Cobbold gave isolated families the Carolyn Asher Royal Lifesaving Society with Camp Cobbold kids learning swimming and lifesaving skillsopportunity to take part in activities they would not normally have access to, but importantly the gathering was a chance to relax and reconnect with neighbours.

“This is the fifth year of the camp, run under the umbrella of Scripture Union Queensland. It brings together parents and families together in a fun situation and helps to create a sense of community rather than feeling so isolated,” Anna said. Frontier Services has been involved each year of the camp.

Mums learning candle makingTop: Ethan Cowan learns how to save his brother Bailey. Middle: Carolyn Asher from North Queensland Royal Lifesaving instructing the children. Bottom: Mothers learn how to make candles at Camp Cobbold The Learn to Swim and lifesaving program included age-appropriate activities for all the children from babies to young teenagers with the mothers joining in on the baby classes.

“There is a high incidence of drowning deaths for boys under three years on rural properties and so this is one way of trying to rectify this. It is great to see how the kids have progressed and developed their water skills as they have got older.”

Families across the region have battled the hardship caused by Cyclone Yasi in February 2011. As well as the economic strain and the intense workload on the station, many mothers have the added responsibility of educating their children at home and all the other tasks they do for their families and businesses.

In light of this, last year the Camp focused on mental health and goal setting.

“The Camp is a time of respite for the mothers as they do not have to worry about cooking meals or being in the classroom.”

One of the highlights of the Camp this year was having a photographer present to take photos of the families together.

“You could not believe the excitement of the families – a small thing such as having photos taken of the family together is huge as this is something they wouldn’t normally have access to.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Frontier Services acknowledges the sovereign First Peoples on whose lands and waters we live, meet, and work.

We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and to all descendants of these Nations who have cared for this place since Creation.