Wednesday 11th July 2012 saw a group of Sea Cadets, both young people and adults, depart the UK for a two week adventure to Western Australia. The aim was to complete the expedition section of their Duke of Edinburgh award – “Gold” (4 days & 3 nights) or “Silver” (3 days & 2 nights). Both groups were to be taken out of their comfort zone and have the opportunity to experience the true values of the award: leadership, teamwork, self-motivation, communication, confidence, consideration and the ability to learn. The groups created their own route cards, which would see them covering between 18- 20 km a day on foot, carrying a full pack.
Faced with a challenging expedition in unfamiliar terrain, known locally as ‘the outback’, based around the northern section of the Bibbulmun track in Western Australia, the adventure started at the Kalamunda Northern Terminus. Their journey took them both north and south of the track allowing them to use their navigational skills and teamwork to complete each day’s leg. Using predetermined campsites, the groups were required to pitch their tents and cook on their own camp stoves or specially constructed open fire pits.
They travelling from Kallamunda to Hewett’s Hill, then onto Perth Hills National Park and finally for the gold team – Bull Creek before heading back towards the Kallamunda pick up point. Although it is winter at this time of year in Western Australia, the days were still warm but the nights proved to be rather cold. Comments from the teams on highlights on completion of their expedition included seeing kangaroos in the wild, discovering a variety of unfamiliar indigenous birds/plant life and incredible breath-taking scenery. Both teams said they came away with feelings of exhausting and challenging achievement and looking back were at times in awe of their own abilities and accomplishments.
On completion of the first week and the expeditions, the group ventured out to explore the local culture and history in and around Fremantle and Perth. Adventures included the history of the £10 Pom, WA ship wreck museum – which told the story of the Batavia, Fremantle prison which was built by convicts, Perth Mint which was handed back to the government of WA from the British in 1970 and is still shows live gold pouring to visitors, Perth Bell tower, which includes 12 bells from St Martins in the Fields near Trafalgar Square, which were presented to WA for their bi-centenary in 1988. During this visit they were able to personally ring the bells. At Perth Zoo and Caversham Wildlife park the team were able to interact and feed kangaroos, koalas and wombats. They also visited the local Australian Navy cadet unit, spending a day of boating and the following day as a local community volunteering experience by assisted with maintenance in the unit.
On behalf of all involved I would like to thank you for supporting this project. I personally was in awe of the input from the cadets, especially watching the skills they gained as a team and as individuals during this event.