Meet Scotdesco Aboriginal Community
In the remote community of Scotdesco, located in Bookabie, on the Far West Coast of South Australia, a remarkable journey towards cultural revitalisation and economic sustainability began in September 2019. This story explores Scotdesco’s aspirations, the journey they undertook, the support provided by Many Rivers, and the outstanding results they achieved.
Scotdesco is a community with deep historical ties to the land and its Indigenous culture. Over the years, they faced the challenges of economic adversity, social disconnection, and cultural erosion. Scotdesco’s history and cultural significance drove their aspirations to reconnect with their heritage, improve their social and physical well-being, and play a part in the broader reconciliation efforts within Australia.
Scotdesco envisioned operating a sustainable Cultural Tourism business, the Wardu Camps, tailored to schools and other touring grous.
The camp would serve as a conduit for these groups to connect with Indigenous Culture, History, Land, and Language. Scotdesco believed that by achieving this, they could enhance the social and physical well-being of their community members and contribute to the reconciliation process in Australia.
‘Wardu is the Wirangu word for Wombat. Wardu camps offer an immersive experience for up to 40 people, which connects participants to Scotdesco’s culture, history, land and language. Our camps help acknowledge our past, help participants understand our history, and help shape our future together.’ – Scotdesco website
Economic Development Journey
The journey to realise this vision included some challenges, one of the most significant being the unforeseen impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed their pilot camp. Despite these obstacles, Scotesco persevered with the project supported by Many Rivers.
To support the successful launch of the Wadu Camps initiative, Many Rivers facilitated a range of business support services including; COVID management protocols and safety measures, development of a business plan with particular focus on cashflow budgeting and cost analysis, legal support in negotiating contracts with 3rd party vendors and recruitment for a Camps Manager.
The first Wardu Camp successfully took place in May 2022 for 7 days with 21 students ranging from Year 10-12, from Victoria. Students were given a range of experiences including boomerang making, bush medicine education, art lessons, tours of local country and learning the Wirangu language, all whilst living on the land and eating local produce.
‘Overall, I think we can all give a massive thank you to the Scotdesco community for educating us on their culture and giving us the most amazing week. I know this trip, with all the memories and bonds made, are going to stay with all of us for a long time, as well as all the significant knowledge I gained as an Australian.’ – Cady, Wadu Camp attendee
The outcomes of Scotdesco’s economic journey are impressive:
Scotdesco’s community and board gained insights into managing complex risks, strengthening risk management procedures, and navigating the project in a COVID-affected world. Confidence in cultural activities and public speaking also grew, along with an improved understanding of organisational structure.
Scotdesco secured capital funding over two years, enabling the employment of a part-time Wardu Camps Manager. The first pilot camp provided employment opportunities for community members, whilst also generating a profit for the community. Future bookings for the camp via Camps International and Intrepid Travel are in the pipeline, promising ongoing economic sustainability.
In summary, the partnership between Scotdesco and Many Rivers has been transformative, empowering this remote community to achieve their aspirations of cultural preservation and economic sustainability through the successful implementation of the Wardu Camps. This story exemplifies the potential of community-driven initiatives supported by organisations committed to making a positive impact.
Read about Cady’s experience at the Wardu Camp: https://www.campsinternational.com/aus/cadys-south-australia-experience/
Learn more about Scotdesco Aboriginal Community’s Wardu Camps:
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