Home Valley Indigenous trainees and mentors are central to the development of the pastoral and tourism enterprise.
Home Valley Station is owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation and was purchased on behalf of the Balanggarra people of the East Kimberley.
Since acquiring the Home Valley pastoral lease in 1999, the ILC has endeavoured to involve local Indigenous people in all aspects of the station's operations. In both its tourism and pastoral enterprises, members of the local Indigenous communities have assisted in all manner of projects associated with the resurrection of what was, at the time of purchase, a poorly neglected cattle station.
Today, Home Valley is a hub of activity that caters not only for travellers of the Gibb River road, but for Indigenous students and trainees from many communities across the Kimberley. Skills-based programmes are run continuously throughout the dry season (April to October), delivering tuition in fencing, welding, concreting, landscaping, tourism, horsemanship, stock handling and other practical skills.
Western Australia's Justice Department has also played a role in increasing the involvement of Indigenous people in Home Valley's operations. During Home Valley Station's construction stages the Wyndham Work Camp, a facility of the Department of Justice, was a regular visitor to the Station for week-long stints at fencing and landscaping. Up to 16 men participate in programs that were aimed at defining areas that belong to the Forrest River Aboriginal Reserve, making tourists aware of culturally significant land by fencing work and posting informative signs. These visits provided the work camp members with not only the opportunity to gain practical skills but also assist with the development of future guest activities and tours such as fishing, hunting and swimming in Home Valley's array of natural waterholes.
Home Valley hosts up to 14 full-time students in Indigenous Tourism, Hospitality and Horticultural Traineeships while also offering a range of apprenticships either within the commercial kitchen or the mechanic workshop. These traineeships make Home Valley a centre of learning where practical skills are taught in the course of a normal day on the Station. For example, ILC tourism trainees are an integral part of the resort operation which means that every bed that is made, every drink and meal that is served, every customer query that is answered, every camp site that is sold and every tour that is conducted is part of the hands-on tuition of the trainship. ILC Trainees live with and work alongside the Home Valley staff.
Through the ILC's alliance with Kimberley Group Training and MEGT, we will be in a position to maximise employment pathways and ensure full-time employment for all Certificate III graduates of Home Valley Traineeships.