Katherine Campus spirits not dampened by the weather 

Katherine Campus students join in the fun of the KCMM parade

Charles Darwin University (CDU) continues to be a busy hub of educational activity, despite the recent Katherine River flooding.

The new Campus Administrator, Vicki Williams, had only been in the position for seven days when the river rose, cutting access to the town and flooding some parts of Katherine.

CDU staff coordinated the packing up of the Town Centre office before waters rose, in case of a repeat of the 1998 flood levels. Some sensitive items were removed for safety to the Katherine Campus 16 kilometres north of the town, which was not a flood risk but was eventually cut off by rising water.

Congratulations to staff and students who offered their services to the recovery committee, including assistance with the re-establishment of the Woolworths supermarket to help residents access food and cleaning items and restoring a sense of normality.

All students had made it back to CDU after Easter and courses continued as usual.

Prior to the flood, the Katherine Campus staff and students participated in the Annual Katherine Farm and Garden Day on 1 April.

Cattle from the University’s Brahman stud proved to be a popular attraction as students walked them around the venue. A staff member’s Jack Russell puppies for sale on the stand were also a great draw card. Visitors to the CDU stand showed plenty of interest in the courses on offer.

Cyclone Monica raised the anxiety levels in Katherine again, with fears of another possible river rise. When the cyclone went north, our thoughts were with colleagues who were preparing for the worst. The deluge that Monica brought made it impossible to deliver some planned courses on outlying communities and stations. These will all be rescheduled.

The recent Katherine Country Music Muster was heralded as a success by the organisers, who were very appreciative of the CDU logistical support for the event.

One of the committee members, Sue Moran, said: “The students do a wonderful job by putting up our fence. We would be lost without them.” Three students - Redonicus Rrunggurra, Michelle and Erin Hanson - carried flags on horseback during the parade, while student Trevor Matthews demonstrated cracking the Australian Stockwhip.

Two staff members have just attended the Beef Australia 2006 Expo in Rockhampton, promoting the certificate II and III courses in Agriculture, Beef Cattle Production, and Horse Husbandry available at CDU.

Students are currently practising washing, grooming and presenting cattle from the University’s Brahman stud in preparation for the Fred’s Pass Show in Darwin. It is a busy time for the students, who will also attend the Katherine and Darwin Shows in July, when all of the other students will be on holidays.

Language Literacy and Numeracy Program lecturer, Catalin Kaser, recently left CDU to return with her family to her home in California, USA. We welcome Melody Murphy on board today to continue the program for those students enrolled.

The Katherine Campus is offering continuous enrolment in many study programs to suit the varying needs of students both in the Town Centre and the main campus north of the town.

Remotely, staff are delivering preparatory courses, and courses in business, IT and child care to communities, following initial visits by the Senior Field Officer for Remote Coordination, Bronte Cooper.

The Katherine Campus is delivering a combination of full time and block courses for residential students in agriculture, work preparation and rural operations.

It has also run several workshops this year in 4WD operations, SMARTtrain, weed management, first aid and chainsaw operations on campus and in remote communities. Further workshops are planned throughout the year.

The campus has hosted many groups for blocks of training so far this year from areas including Tennant Creek, Lajamanu, Kununurra, Bulman and Canteen Creek. Units studied included horse care and riding, cattle, station work preparation, quad and motorbike riding, maintenance and welding.

Consolidated Pastoral Company also sent 46 new employees to CDU for training in March prior to being sent out to work on stations. They completed training in horse care and handling, maintenance, first aid, occupational health and safety and SMARTtrain.

Students from Kormilda College and Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre in Darwin have been studying horse care and handling through the VET in Schools program.

Students from St. Joseph's College have been working towards their Certificate I in Rural Operations, completing units in tractor maintenance and operations and chemical handling one day per week during Semester 1.