Eden Canoes update

  • 15 June 2022
  • Andrew Keene

Many of you will recall that Michael Palmer the previous Rector of this parish loved to build and paddle canoes. Michael left us and moved to Eden on the far South Coast where he has found a new way to pursue that passion.

Michael has a chaplaincy role supported by the Anglican and Uniting Church (church in assisted by Stuart) Much of the focus of the role is on the local Aboriginal community which is quite large, about 10% of the kids in the local high school are aboriginal.

There had been a previous project building canoes with Aboriginal kids lead by Pastor Ozzie Cruise. Michael built on that and came up with the concept of Eden Canoes where they would take kids from the school help them build, decorate and paddle canoes. A couple of years ago Michael ran a prototype of this idea, largely funded by the generosity of people in this church. Following the success of the project he was able to obtain a grant from the government from the bushfire regeneration fund, and he is running more workshops – they are in the middle of one now.

In the workshops the kids work alongside mentors from the local community who have been trained in canoe building. These are people who have grown up locally and are turning their own lives around.

The impact has been transformational. It is hard for us who brought kids up around here to imagine the impact of the project. They build a boat. They worked alongside adults, they decorated it with their culture, they paddled to aboriginal sites, the community was proud of them. …………

One young man I met down there, an outstanding young leader who quite matter of factly told me that his parents were druggies. The principal of the school credits the canoes with his making it into year 12.

So, how can you help? The grant funding runs out at the end of this year, my role is to work with Michael to make this a sustainable social enterprise. There will be revenue sources, but we will also need to have grant funding and a philanthropy base.

So, three things, please pray for this project. Next year we will be starting to seek some philanthropy support, so think about that as you plan your giving. There is a specific volunteer role right now that could be very helpful, and that is to work on grant funding.