Lessons in Thailand

Students from Kununurra District High School had a history lesson with a difference when their classroom moved from the Kimberley to Kanchanaburi in western Thailand.

During the April school holidays, 18 students from Kununurra, including four of the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation’s Follow the Dream/Partnerships for Success students, participated in the Quiet Lion Tour.

The Tour was attended by 117 people in total, and is held annually to inform current and future generations about the sacrifices of Australian and Allied prisoners of war and the selfless dedication of the medical personnel during the construction of the Burma Thailand Railway.

Foundation Kununurra co-ordinator Emma Lutz said that in addition to learning about the history, the trip provided a great opportunity for the four Indigenous students to mix socially with non-indigenous students during fund raising activities and on the tour.

“This trip will help them as they go through the year levels to mix with a whole range of students, reducing social isolation and hopefully keeping school a place they want to be,” Emma said.

The students who attended found the trip both educational and personally rewarding. Below are some of their comments:

“In Thailand it was great, the people, the culture and the food. I learnt so much about World War 2 and the Thai people and lifestyle. If I ever get another chance to go I would do it. I’m thankful for the opportunity.” Clarissa Bin Omar (Year 9)

“In Thailand I learnt about the culture and language. It was really interesting to learn about Hellfire Pass and how tragic it was for the prisoners of war. I got to experience the train ride on the Thai Burma Railway which was one of the most memorable moments on the trip.” Roley Lewis (Year 9)

“Thailand for me was a great opportunity especially because I was the youngest from KDHS. My favourite part about the trip was meeting new people. It made me realise how hard the POWs worked through harsh conditions.” Tanya Gerrard (Year 8)

The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation funded the students to attend the Tour. The Kununurra program supports 32 students in years 7-12 and is funded by Rio Tinto Future Fund, Argyle Diamonds and the Education Department of WA.

Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation Kununurra co-ordinator Emma Lutz 0402 484 852