It was with a heavy heart that the decision was made for my husband and I to leave Kalumburu and there are a few reasons why we needed to make that decision, but the most upsetting part about leaving was knowing the hurt and disappointment that the local community would yet again experience. Time and time again, they told us that many people came to help out, but they always leave, no one stays. These were the factors which contributed to our decision to leave:
- The job – the position I had accepted was no longer mine as my predecessor decided to return to Kalumburu and resume the role; the years spent living in the remoteness of Kalumburu had made it difficult for her to settle into her previous life back home. Any suggestions I made for duties I wanted to perform were rejected and as I had been engaged to work at the Mission, it was difficult for me to work in the Community where I wanted to be.
- The accommodation – sharing a house with another couple is no. an ideal situation and involves many challenges particularly when one couple had been the sole occupant for a considerable length of time. I am a hospitable, talkative person, qualities which are not endearing to everyone.
- My husband became ill – when Greg was spraying acres of trees with pesticide to treat white ants, a sudden gust of wind partially removed his face mask and he inhaled some of the chemicals. He was ill for about 14 days and lost 5-7 kgs in weight as he was unable to eat and unable to stop vomiting. It would be 16 years later before we understood just how toxic these pesticides are on the body.
One evening, just a few nights before our departure from Kalumburu, we were alerted to the situation unfolding at the Royal Flying Doctor Station when one of the school teachers started early labor and she and her husband, also a teacher, were accepting the reality that their first child was about to be born at the Mission. It was too late for the mother to travel to Perth. The nurses were taking care of medical matters while mission staff were busy preparing the dirt air-strip so the Royal Flying Doctor plane could land at night. The runway had to be free of any debris, twigs and stones and the night lights placed with precision and accuracy; there was no room for error. A baby girl, named Kimberley, was born at the Doctor’s station that night and with her parents, flown to Perth the following dawn. One male member of the Benedictine Community who had lived a monastic life for some 50 years witnessed this new-born baby and for him, it was a miracle; this baby girl was pure love; his was filled with awe and joy and utter amazement at the wonder of birth.
arrival – departure
a new life – a different journey
joy – sadness
memories being created – memories always cherished
Lesson Learnt – always be true to myself and do not participate in any activity or become involved in any situation which makes me feel uncomfortable.
To obtain more information about Kalumburu School, visit
For more information about Kalumburu visit
To read my posts Kalumburu Western Australia (Part 1) and (Part 2) please visit