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Renovating the Thursday Island Boat Club Thursday Island Boat Club_main.jpg

Two Indigenous men working on a landscaping project
CDP participants landscaping the existing boat club as part of the Thursday Island Boat Club project
27 Jan 2017

The Thursday Island Boat Club, a popular centre for youth sports, recreation and community events had long needed revitalising.

Rebuilding the Thursday Island Boat Club and facilities was a long-term aspiration of the community; they knew that upgraded and expanded facilities would give the whole community a refreshed venue for community gatherings. With such a significant project to complete it was quickly identified as a project that could be used to provide a solid pathway from training to employment for Community Development Programme (CDP) participants.

Indigenous men dressed in work wear digging trenches next to white building with blue roof with palm trees and ocean in background
Works commence on the footing for the new toilet block

The renovation was a result of a successful collaboration between the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA), My Pathway (CDP provider) and the Torres Strait Youth Recreational Sports Association (TSYRSA).

The TSRA Economic Development Portfolio Member, Mr Joseph Elu, said ‘The works will bring the Boat Club back to its former glory and will provide a great venue for community events, particularly those focussed on youth sport and recreational activities that are all located in the same sporting precinct’.

Two men work near newly built grey block addition to white building with trees in background.
The walls are up and ready for the new roof

Beginning in December 2015 the project included demolition work, creation of a new toilet block and a large storage shed for boats and other equipment. The existing building was renovated to  replace the roof, build a new outdoor deck, and instal a commercial grade kitchen, new ceilings and floor coverings. 

With local builder Rob Clarke and his team providing supervision and guidance throughout the renovation and building works, the activity provided the CDP participants with practical on-the-job development and training aligned to the needs of the local building industry. My Pathway mentor, Gavin Bin Juda said ‘Working with ‘Bob’ [John Brown, site Foreman] was good.  We got a heap of boys employed which was my goal.  Watching and learning about the little things was amazing.  I always wondered, how do you do that? And now I know! ’

Indigenous man in workwear cutting timber with circular saw in large building with other men in the background.
Gavin Bin Juda on the tools leading the way

Taking part in the project also enabled the participants to work toward completion of a Certificate II in Construction Training.

‘The renovation of the club facilities has been an aspiration of the Association for a long time and the Association is very happy that a large proportion of the work will be completed by unemployed youth under the direction of skilled builders,’ said Mr Alan Filewood, President of the TSYRSA.

Three men in workwear standing on scaffolding below steel supports which form part of roof construction.
John “Bob” Brown and job seekers reconstructing the roof

The project, completed in December 2016, was keenly watched by employers in the local building industry, who approached the Boat Club to recruit suitably skilled people to work on other commercial building sites on Thursday Island and allowing the economic benefits to stay on the Island.

By using this project as a launching platform, 19 CDP participants have gained full-time paid employment and successfully exited the program with a range of new skills, experience and qualifications.

Find out more

The Australian Government’s Community Development Programme (CDP) is creating better opportunities for job seekers in remote Australia and strengthening remote economies.

To find out about CDP activities in your area, contact your local Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Regional Network office.

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