Carpentaria leader Murrandoo Yanner proposes Gulf Academy for troubled Aboriginal teenagers: ABC

ABC Radio Brisbane / By Kenji Sato

Murrandoo Yanner says young people in the gulf are in need of a “ridgy didge” bush education.(Supplied: Burketown State School )

Before he became the legendary crocodile hunter from Burketown, Murrandoo Yanner was a troubled kid with a chequered past.

Key points:

  • Murrandoo Yanner is one of the Gulf of Carpentaria leaders proposing a bush academy to get delinquent children on the right path
  • Aboriginal leaders want state government support for the Gulf Academy project, after secretariat funding ended
  • The academy would teach vocational skills and Aboriginal knowledge to at-risk kids in the region

Mr Yanner is one of the Carpentaria leaders behind plans to create the Gulf Academy, a bush school intended to steer delinquent youth away from a life of crime.

“I’ve been expelled from a couple of schools and went to jail a couple of times, so I can relate to these kids,” Mr Yanner said.

The Gangalidda man said the school would teach “ridgy didge” traditional law and ceremony to kids in the Gulf of Carpentaria, who were otherwise cut off from their Aboriginal culture.

Mr Yanner said Aboriginal children were missing out on both a practical bush education, as well as failing to learn in a “white” schooling system.

“They’re lost in two worlds; they know they don’t belong in the white world, they’re not accepted, and they’re constantly told that,” Mr Yanner said.

“We want to send them off to school so they can get the best of both worlds and so they can walk confidently in both worlds.”

The school would teach vocational skills to children from the Gulf Country, a region that has some of the worst crime rates in all of Queensland.