Welcome to True Blue Dreaming (TBD)

True Blue Dreaming is committed to supporting and strengthening young lives in rural and remote communities.  We are a youth and community development mentoring program engaging young people aged 12-18 in rural and remote Australia.  Our programs have been successfully delivered in the Wheatbelt and Kimberley regions of Western Australia since 2004.

Looma June 2014



Sponsors and supporters:

EI Group

Besen Family Foundation

Lake Karrinyup  Country Club

Dorothy & Bill Irwin Charitable Trust

On Sunday 22 June 6 St George’s College students, 6 Christ Church Grammar School year 11 boys, Kelly Fitszimons (on behalf of TBD), Lucy Myles (CCGS staff member) and myself, left for Looma. After a 2.5 hour flight, big shop in Broome and 3 hour drive out to the community, we settled into the youth centre. It didn’t take long for the kids to realise we were in town and from the very first night they were keen to meet, chat and play games.

On Monday we started in the Looma Remote Community School and had an excellent orientation from Deputy Head Bevin Paxman and AEIO Lynley Juboy. Lynley’s story touched us deeply and helped to set the context for our service work. Her journey from being punished as a child for speaking traditional language to now proudly teaching language and culture was truly inspiring. Our students were then divided into pairs (one uni and one school student) and engaged in the 6 classrooms for the rest of the week. The model worked well and it was clear that trust and relationships deepened.

A typical day included; playing with the local kids before school; joining in assembly and health activities; helping with literacy, numeracy and other classroom activities in a one-on-one capacity; playing games in the breaks; running activities from the youth centre or oval after school; climbing the rock at the back of town (culturally permitted) with the kids to enjoy the sunset; cooking the evening meal and eating together; debrief and journaling; tutoring between the uni students and CCGS boys; and a few games and chats to finish off a long day. Other adventures included; evening visits from local families bringing us gifts of  barramundi, bush turkey, fresh damper and bread; sing-a-longs with the Milgins; swims at the Myroodah crossing on our own and with most of the Looma kids thanks to the community lending us their footy bus for the week; seeing the rock paintings behind New Looma courtesy of Auntie Mary Spinks; joining in a Garndawa sponsored 3-on-3 basketball comp and enjoying an Indigenous comedian; a tour of the policing complex; and a last night campfire sing-a-long and marshmallow evening.

There was a slightly unfortunate incident when the kids used some of our acrylic paint that had been used for a hand print mural on calico to graffiti a building. However, with the Principal, Paul Eaglestone’s help and Wayne and Phyllis Milgin and Bernie Pindan’s counsel, the children who were involved came past after school to clean it all up. It felt like a negative was turned into a positive of trust and respect.

It was lovely to see our students sitting in classrooms, on the grass and under trees helping the Looma students with their reading, maths, writing and story-telling. Stronger and stronger bonds developed throughout the week and built on previous visits. We were made to feel very welcome and the level of trust we are afforded is quite remarkable. I believe that we are making a difference to the Looma children’s educational experiences and acting as excellent role models.

Wayne Milgin texted; “Thank you for the good time we had in Looma. It was really great having you and the students. All the kids were really happy. Big thanks to you for bringing the students from Perth for the camp. Also big thanks to Bob.”   Richard Pengelley 12.7.14


Halls Creek June 2014



Sponsors and supporters:


Thirteen indigenous mentors with True Blue Dreaming who live together at St. Catherine’s residential college and are part of the college’s Dandjoo Darbalung program travelled to Halls Creek. a remote indigenous community in the east Kimberley to mentor and be educational role models to the school students at the local district high school for 3 days. This is one of four mentoring trips made possible by True Blue Dreaming,  Lotterywest  and St Catherine’s college.

Through participating in the students daily lessons and assisting them with their school work,  playing sport and hanging out after school, connections were made and relationships established. The Halls creek students responded positively and interest was sparked as the university mentors made family connections, positioning themselves in kinship and country “systems”  and  shared their stories of navigating through the educational system.

They worked across all year groups focusing more on 7-12s and hosted a careers expo with stalls reflecting the 7 professions they are dreaming of becoming through their university studies. On offer to all classes, the careers expo offered mentor/ mentee interactions through craft, health activities such as taking blood pressure, and science games as well as questions asked about what they were studying.

From an outsider observation it may have just been a group of friendly uni students hanging in a School for 3 days, but a deeper experience was occurring in the school and the wider community.

Firstly the students felt valued and visible – “did you really come all the way from Perth for us?” asked  one student. Being acknowledged and receiving positive caring attention and comments from a group of Indigenous mentors strengthened their sense of self. Having their Aboriginality affirmed  and celebrated by the role modelling of the mentor’s confidence, success in education and pride in their own heritage left a lasting impression.

Secondly the students saw the students practice “no shame ” by public speaking, by the use of positive  behaviour around the school and demonstrating a good self-esteem.  For some of the Halls Creek students this was their first encounter with an indigenous university student and with young  people who could articulate their future dream.  Our students asked many of the students “what do you want to do when you finish school?” Again this was not only a challenging question for many, but introduced the idea of having a dream and it  encouraged them to consider that there could be a future vision beyond some of the negative role models in their community.

Thirdly (and unexpectedly)  the mentors may have impacted the teachers.  Seeing 13 indigenous students from similar communities who are confident, intelligent university students and could articulate a future  dream was a poignant reminder of the possibilities  of their own students. As one mentor said “I was the same kid without any shoes in a community just like this one and I made it”.

Fourthly the relationships grew quickly as after school they walked the streets and interacted in a community beyond the school gates . Playing footy and basketball with students after school, chats in shops and on the street, as well as interactions with parents in the community was as significant as the school mentoring. In fact it not only gave credibility to the genuine desire to build relationships, but it increased community knowledge of the mentoring program and support. Due the size of Halls Creek and the connections many of the students already had in the Kimberley, it became easy for  interactions to occur with parents  and students in shops,  art galleries and basketball courts.  Due to the grapevine, the whole community knew about us after 3 days as the students “in the blue t shirts”.

Being indigenous mentors allowed the community to feel less “judged” and some of the students were invited to do the school bus pick up run from student’s homes allowing access to a world in which the students lived. This trust between mentors and mentees happened quickly.

Being seen outside of school hours became as important to the acceptance and support of this program- playing a mixed netball game with staff after school also grew those relationships with the teachers. It was evident the teachers appreciated the extra support in classrooms that were challenging, as teachers were stretched by student behaviours and many seemed burned out.

Another important aspect of the program was the work with the indigenous liaison officers and having their full support was a crucial aspect of the introductory visit as they are members of the local community and work closely with the students.

As a first visit, the experience was very positive for all involved and staff /deputy and principal responses were encouraging for the next visit. The St Catherines students were simply amazing in all aspects of the trip!!!

TBD web

The Governor General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO meets with True Blue Dreaming.

The Governor General met with members and supporters of TBD during her recent visit to Perth.  Her Excellency recalled times of growing up in a small country town in Queensland and mentors from her life during her meeting with about 50 True Blue Dreamers.  The audience included mentees from the communities of Bruce Rock and Wyalkatchem as well as mentors from both UWA and Notre Dame.  Akram Azimi was Master of Ceremonies and introduced some excellent speakers from the mentor and mentee group – Calvin Davis from Wyalkatchem, Lawson Butler from Bruce Rock and Ellie Tapsell from UWA.  Past mentee, David Lewis, also spoke of his experiences and the influence this had on his military service especially in Afghanistan.

Fiona Stanley


Professor Fiona Stanley AC Patron of True Blue Dreaming. “For young people who live in rural and remote areas of Australia life can be very rewarding but also very challenging.  Isolation, lack of role models, limited resources and lack of self confidence can limit them from achieving their goals and dreams.  The wonderful young volunteers of True Blue Dreaming make a difference – I am proud to be the Patron.”

How you

can help.

Our aim is to add 2 new programs each year for the next 5 years.  By supporting TBD you will share the credit for our achievements.

Donation Opportunities

Diamond donor     $150,001 – $300,000

Gold donor           $50,001 – $150,000

Silver donor         $10,001 – $50,000

Bronze donor       $1,000 – $10,000

When you join the 100 Club you automatically become a Bronze donor

Latest Updates

My True Blue Experience – Read the David Lewis story here. Adam Hill’s Ride across Australia – click here Visit our Art Gallery to see recent additions from the Bungleman Arts Centre in Looma – click here For all photos from this year’s camps, programs and activities - click here What are TBD Mentors? - click here Step into the TBD Journey – click here