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It’s pretty well agreed that music – the right kind of music – can help soothe the soul and make people feel better…

But what about art? Whether you’re looking at it or getting involved in making it, Robyn Robinson – who we met in the Cairns Cool Waters Caravan Park has proof positive anyone and everyone is innately creative and once they connect with that inner artist they feel better and more inspired to focus and create a better future.  Rob’s particular focus – the local indigenous communities in FNQ.  

In this short podcast we managed to have a quick chat with Robyn to discover more about how they got on the road and WHY she is now off to Aurukun and what she'll be doing there with the local indigenous population - something she is very passionate about.
 

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PREFER TO READ: Full Transcript here

   

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TRANSCRIPT:

BRIAN:
Robyn, tell us why you're here, how long you’ve been here and what your plans are for the future.

ROBYN:
Started this year.... We sold our house in Bendigo, one of those projects you buy that, you watch too many of those home improvement programs.

And it took us four years to do that. And we decided to sell that. We finished it in February and came up to Cairns because our son's presently serving at Thursday Island, in the Army in Communications. And so we came up here, because we hadn't been up to far North Queensland. And I wanted to see what it was like up this way and work because we're not retired just yet.

BRIAN:
Well you're too young to be retired. 😊
 
ROBYN:
I became a teacher at the age of ….  KAYE:  Last year?? (LAUGHS!...)
 
ROBYN:
Yeah, because I've taught mostly in all my life in Aboriginal communities. Growing up in Swan Hill & Kerang and being part of the mob down there & have gone on.... So when we came up to Cairns, I wanted to do some more teaching again.  Didn't have much luck in the mainstream. I've done drug and alcohol as well.  


KAYE:
Teaching that is???   

ROBYN:
Yeah teaching (LAUGHS) That does sound good doesn't it! ?

KAYE:
Our podcasts are nothing if not amusing. 😊

ROBYN:
I love it! -  The fact that you're going to edit this… So yes, we came up here... My husband's a floor covering. (SIC) He does floor covering, so he found work easy enough. I found it a little bit harder.
I really wanted to do my art therapy as well, which is, I think I've been  doing it all my life.
 
BRIAN:
So tell us where you're off to and why are you going and what you plan on doing?
 
ROBYN:
Yeah so a good friend of mine
lives up at Aurukun and a job came advertised a couple of weeks ago. I applied for it and it was a job in the arts. So we went up and had a look at my husband and I and I've got this beautiful, big art room that hasn't been used for a long time. And I'm excited because it doesn't matter who you are, what age or whatever.


Art is always a great healer. So looking forward to getting that all up and going and involved in the
community, and it should be great.

KAYE:
I love the very subtle tone of voice here... art therapy and Indigenous communities. We don't hear about that. I mean... What are you going to be doing with the kids?


ROBYN:

Well, we do the Australian curriculum, so that will be part of it, but also doing a lot of well being there.
So in the arts, it's music, dance, drama as well as your visual arts. So a lot of ways that the kids will be able to express how they're feeling through their artwork and also be able to help them pre-school behaviour issues. I'm trained in the Clayfield and also got a drawing, which is all help us all with emotional stuff.
 
KAYE:
We don't know much about that. Tell us about those two.
 
ROBYN:
The Clayfield is a box about an A size, about an inch or two high, and you fill it up with clay and it's sort of hard to explain. You have it's a one on  therapy and they come in and you sit down with your student client and depending on whether it's an adult or a child because children don't close their eyes. But adults do.


And we talk about how and what's happening with their hands in the clay. And it's a very healing process.  

BRIAN:
It's sort of a mindfulness right? (Yes). The process. (Yeah)…  It's very interesting with the different communities, particularly remote communities and Indigenous communities that they often feel separated from what else is going on.


They've got some access to modern technology and features and whatever, but they're kind of shoved away. Have you heard of The Backtrack Boys?
 
ROBYN:
Yes I've even watched that.
 
BRIAN:
Well that producer, the filmmaker, is a friend of ours, Cathy...  
ROBYN:
Oh, Fantastic!

BRIAN:
And she was in fact, an editor I think, with one of our shows and the Backtrack Boys, it's probably along the lines of some of the things you're doing?


ROBYN
:

Yeah.... Just gave me goose bumps then! - The arts is one of the things that gets kids to school, especially where I've worked the art programs. The kids are that excited, they want to know what you're doing for the day.  Usually I'll have a morning and recess lunch. I'll have some sort of group as a whole school sort of project going.  I have visual diaries.

You can see a lot of kids that are like me that are Dyslexic, that you can know what was going through their mind and how they express  themselves in whatever I've got set for them. But especially the visual diaries. You can see a lot of what's happening and stuff like that. But you can tell the kids with Dyslexia, though...
 
KAYE:
But you're smiling through this. A lot of people would find it really daunting going to remote areas.
It's not like you're just an hour away from the local shopping centre or something?
 
BRIAN:
It's beyond the back of Bourke this place!  I got a look on the map. Tell me where it is.
 
ROBYN:
The drive out there I think is about  13 hours or something from Cairns - Beautiful drive...
If anyone wanted to go out there, it's absolutely changing in the countryside… We stopped at one point at  this lookout and there wasn't one sound. It was just magnificent. So I love the bush so it doesn't worry me.
 
BRIAN:
We'll come up and visit you at Christmas. (LAUGHS!!!)....  

KAYE:
It would be nice little bit of peace and quiet...  I have to admit, I can sometimes hear snoring, but and it's not Brian.

ROBYN:
Like I said our son lives on Thursday Island, so it's seven hours to the Cape from where we're going to be. And then you get on a ferry for two hours and then you're over Thursday Island so just a whole different world compared to living in the Melly. So Australia is a beautiful country.
 
BRIAN:
So this gig, let's call it this job that you're going to. How long is it for? And what do you plan to do after that perhaps?

ROBYN:
Most teacher postings are two to  years. So depending on, I suppose, how you enjoy it, how you cope with remote living and all that sort of thing. I think it made it easier for me because I've got Pete. He helps me with a lot of my mad projects and art stuff. And he's pretty good at that.

KAYE:
And Patty's going too... tell our listeners about Patty...

ROBYN:
Patty's , our broken head Jack Russell. He's named after Pete used to this whole fellow out in the Melly.
He used to tell Pete everything he said was right. And his name was Patty. So that's why he got the name Patty. And he's been to Western Australia and Queensland.


He goes everywhere with us. I'm not really sure how he will go. Like, you got to keep his dogs a little bit separate from the mob dogs and all that stuff. So he loves all that sort of stuff. He loves the water, too. But there's too many crocodiles up there. So we won't be going swimming. We'll have to get him a little paddlers pool or  something like that. Because he does love the water.


I reckon if you got him a surfboard he'd surf. But anyway, he loves salty water freshwater.
 
KAYE:
So he's a great supporter for all the other doggies that you mind, because of course you very kindly minded our little Chica for us.

ROBYN:
Yea that was fun and she had a great time...And like I said, I've done a lot of things in my life. Art always comes back. But the personalities of all the dogs, and they're just fantastic ... Yeah I love it! :-)

BRIAN:
They're good companions when you're not talking to the other half.  

KAYE:
When does that happen???   BRIAN: Never, Darling!!! 😊

 

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