A new subdivision, an Elders residence and a men’s shed will be the legacy projects left behind in Pormpuraaw by the Australian Army, but friendships and positive influences will leave a far greater impact.
The Cape community has been a recipient of the Army Aboriginal Community Assistance Program (AACAP) this year, with the 6th Brigade members from the 19th Chief Engineer Works and the 6th Engineer Support Regiment spending months in Pormpuraaw.
The aim of the program is to improve infrastructure, health, living and economic conditions within remote Indigenous communities.
Pormpuraaw is the 46th remote indigenous community to host AACAP.
As part of this year’s AACAP there are several pledged construction works that will bring a welcome boost to the community.
These works include an independent living facility for Elders of the community, as well as a men’s shed and two lots of subdivided land for future building works.
The Army is also taking the opportunity to undertake other smaller tasks in the community including upgrading the football field and splash park.
But, it’s not just the Elders of Pormpuraaw that will reap the benefits of AACAP, with soldiers participating in weekly activities with students at Pormpuraaw State School. These activities are designed to improve attendance as well as numeracy and literacy skills of the students.
The children couldn’t be more thrilled to have the Army along.
As part of the welcome ceremony school students presented soldiers with welcome care-packages, complete with hand-drawn cards expressing their appreciation and excitement.
The AACAP contingent also received a hearty introduction to life in Pormpuraaw during the local NAIDOC Week celebrations.
The team joined the community celebrations, participating in the week-long youth summit during the school holidays, engaging in sporting and cultural activities with community members, and finishing the week with a Kup-murri.
This year’s program was long awaited, following the postponement of the 2020 AACAP due to the pandemic.
This article appeared in Cape York Weekly, 24 August 2021.