School commute is now a barrel of fun

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph
The Barrel Train picks up children in Punmu.
Camera IconThe Barrel Train picks up children in Punmu. Credit: John Reudavey

In the small remote Aboriginal Community of Punmu, 700km east of Newman, community members have banded together to build a mid-scale train made of barrels.

Made from about 20 metal drums, the barrel train Western Desert Express was identified as a unique way to pick up students in the morning to encourage school attendance.

The 'Western Desert Express'.
Camera IconThe 'Western Desert Express'. Credit: Supplied.

Punmu Community co-ordinator John Reudavey said although attendance at the school was already up to scratch, the train had been a huge success among the small population of children in Punmu, who were lining up in the mornings to jump on-board.

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“We’ve got kids standing outside in the morning, in their nappies, shivering (with) cold at 7am waiting to get the train,” he said.

“It’s just awesome to see.”

The train was donated to the local community RAWA School principal, Sarah Mortimer.

The children and community have helped design artwork to decorate the carriages made of metal drums.

Mr Reudavey said the community project would not have been possible without the support of Newcrest Mining, Telfer, which had provided ongoing support for Punmu and its members.

Volunteers Donald Graham and Peter Doery developed the idea with the community and used their technical skills to help create the barrel train, which they have described as “better than using a Troopy as a school bus”.

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