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Students from Yalata and Oak Valley have a whale of a time!

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Four black whales swim in a blue sea with a rocky cliff top in the foreground.
Southern Right Whales spend the southern hemisphere winter in the warm waters of the Head of Bight.
12 Oct 2017

Getting close to the ‘giants of the deep’ is an exciting experience.

For 47 students from Yalata Anangu and Oak Valley Anangu schools, their recent close encounter with Southern Right Whales at Head of Bight, was a reward for their high level of school attendance.

This exciting and fun filled day was organised by staff from the two schools. The Yalata Land Management team cooked up a storm on the BBQ for lunch while Mr Ron Redford from the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) entertained both the teachers and students.

‘We all do it for these kids,’ Ron said.

‘If they keep going to school and we can widen their horizons with opportunities like this, then the sky is the limit for them when they are young adults’.

The Head of Bight is located 78 kilometres west of Yalata, 20 kilometres to the east of the Nullarbor Roadhouse and within the Yalata Indigenous Protected Area in South Australia.

The Head of Bight Whale Watching facility offers visitors a unique opportunity to view large numbers of whales that gather there between June and October.

Seven Indigenous women sit on a tile floor inside a wooden shelter around a large painting of the blue ocean with black whales swimming.
Yalata CDP ladies painting the Whale Story at Head Of Bight, South Australia

From the main viewing platform, the students observed whales tail slapping, breaching and rolling belly up. Several whale calves were seen with their mothers lolling about or cruising beneath the 70 metre high Bunda Cliffs.

Students also saw cutting edge technology in action, with Murdoch University researchers using drones that hovered above the whales to film identifying features.

The students also ran off some energy in the nearby pristine sand hills.

The Yalata Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) team assisted the schools with support for the students and the Community Development Programme ladies painted the story of the whales. Eyre Peninsula and Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resource Management also assisted in organising the event.

Find out more

Getting children to school, improving education outcomes and supporting families to give their children the best start in life is a major priority for the Australian Government.

For more information, go to Remote School Attendance Strategy, SANFL Indigenous programs and Yalata Indigenous Protected Area.