I was working as an educator in the NT when the outstation movement started in the mid 1970’s. My schools at Numbulwar (1976 – 78) and Angurugu on Groote Eylandt (1979 – 1982) serviced outstation schools.

Outstations were established clan and family groups who wanted ‘out’ from the more established communities and a return to more traditional life, moved to these localities. The stated desire of the groups was to live simply and without what were deemed to be European type interferences with life. Living in isolation was relished, with support from a visiting outstation teacher (who would take mail and requested supplies) deemed sufficient.

Fast forward to 2023: Realise that in the intervening years, those on homeland settlements and outstations have generally upgraded their expectations and now want the facilities supporting a more western style of life in place.

Changed expectations are a challenge to governments and place a huge burden on treasury.

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