Returning to Horn Island

I have had the BEST 24 hours. By far the highlight of my trip so far has been returning to Horn Island, a place I called home back in 2001/2002 as a freshly qualified teacher. 

My time spent on Horn Island was probably the most profound period of my life, full of so many ups and downs. 

When I arrived on Horn Island, I was a 21 year old hopelessly naieve, sheltered and idealistic girl who was majorly over indulged. All through uni I lived at home & still had my mum make my bed & pack my lunch for me.  My family was very close knit and I had a wonderful group of protective and wise friends surrounding me. 

So you can imagine how shell-shocked I was to move over 2000km away from my little protective bubble & have to figure life out all on my own. It didn’t help that one week after arriving here my grandfather, whom I was extremely close to, passed away suddenly leaving me wracked with grief. 

Moving to the Torres Straits was a choice I made when I finished my degree. I wasn’t sent there against my will. I was drawn to the Straits and had actively sought out a position there and was thrilled to be offered a job. 

As you can imagine my first few weeks on Horn Island were extremely difficult as I suffered terribly from homesickness and felt very lost and alone. Not for long though as the community quickly adopted me and took me under their wing, treating me like family. 

My students weren’t just my pupils, I thought of them like nieces & nephews and loved every single one of them to bits. To this day I can name every single one of my Horn Island students & my memory of them is so vivid. In comparison I barely remember any of the students I taught in my years teaching in Brisbane schools (with the exception of a special few). 

I have followed the lives of the kids on Horn Island with such pride and love hearing about what they are up to. 

I had made arrangements to catch up with some of the teachers, one of whom was like a sister to me, and an elder, Mrs Doolah, who showed me great kindness and was so supportive of me in my time on the Island, but I hadn’t organised to see any students as I wasn’t sure they’d remember me – they were so little when I left!!

So I was thrilled to bits to run into one of my students on the ferry yesterday and delighted when she said she’d assemble some of our class for a catch up for dinner. I was over the moon!!!!! 

To say the Torres Straits is spectacularly beautiful is an understatement. The water here is 50 shades of turquoise and the scenery is vividly and strikingly breathtaking. 

I am now sadly sitting on the ferry on my way back to Seisa to see Ben & the kids. Ben is whisking me off to some remote place with no reception again tonight so I will be awol again for a while. 

Nestled in my lap is a bag of lobster tails one of my students sent down to the jetty for me at 5:30am this morning when I left. I’m feeling very nostalgic and teary at the moment. 

I am so honoured to have taught in this magical place. It gave me so many wonderful experiences, life long friends & family and of course, it was the place where I met Ben. 

I’d better sign off now before this blog post gets any sappier. I am already wanting to return here very soon with Ben & the kids!!

Thanks for reading!!

B xx

My beloved Grade 1 class – all grown up!!!! 

My old house. My late dad & I planted the frangipani trees you see in the background.

Simur Chicken!!!!! An island recipe that has never tasted as good when I have attempted to cook it since leaving. 

Watching the sun rise from the ferry as I make my way back to mainland. 

5 thoughts on “Returning to Horn Island

  1. that was so nice meeting up again. I am so jalous you goy lobster tails My favorite food.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 on the Telstra Mobile Network


    • Oh Crikey Bianca ….. this brought tears to my eyes. I too remember the days I spent with Jen on Thursday Island and you and Jen on Horn Island. Such special places. You must go and spend more time there with your family.


  2. Such a beautiful read my Sis. I was getting teary reading it and thinking about how it all started! Hehe You at the checkout at I’m sure it was the Redcliffe Shopping Centre(?) and you being so nice asked me about the Torres Strait and how you had an interest in teaching there…it was meant to be 😉


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