Broome office grateful for the year that was

21 December 2023

By Gerard Tonti-Filippini (CEWA regional officer – Broome)

From desolation to jubilation: Kimberley’s resilience shines through in 2023

In the early days of 2023, the Kimberley Region faced an unprecedented challenge as Ex Tropical Cyclone Ellie unleashed catastrophic flooding, tearing apart the landscape and severing the Kimberley in two. Homes were washed away, the Fitzroy River Bridge crumbled, and families found themselves marooned, their lives dislocated by the relentless force of nature.

Amidst the tragedy, Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) emerged as a guiding force. CEWA orchestrated a landmark event, bringing together leaders from communities and education sectors to listen to the diverse voices of the Kimberley. This marked the beginning of a commitment to local wisdom, growth partnerships, and a better future for the region’s children.

CEWA’s influence extended further with the Cross Sector ATA/AIEO Conference, uniting community educators in East and West Kimberley. This visionary gathering aimed to integrate a futuristic Aboriginal-Catholic worldview into education, envisioning a future where local knowledge and spirituality guide holistic education.

Acknowledging the importance of cultural integration, CEWA championed spiritual companioning in Religious Education across the Broome Diocese. The engagement of Aboriginal Teaching Assistants (ATAs) as companions for Religious Education Coordinators enhanced the connection between learning, teaching, and the unique cultures of each school community.

The year 2023 concludes with a triumph for the region – the rebuilt Fitzroy Bridge. Officially opened on December 10, it stands as a symbol of the community’s resilience. The community eagerly anticipated being the first to walk across the bridge, celebrating the unity and dedication of those who resurrected this vital lifeline.

The story of 2023 in the Kimberley Region is not just one of survival but of triumph over adversity. From the chaos of nature’s wrath to the rebuilding of a vital lifeline, the resilience and unity of the Kimberley community has prevailed, paving the way for a brighter and more connected 2024.

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