Photo: Yarrabah Shire Council Deputy Mayor Michael Sands and Councillor Colin Cedric share yarns and stories about sites along the coastline with IDX Flint Manager Grant Cameron.

On the coast of Far North QLD surrounded by coral reef and rainforest, the community of Yarrabah is embracing digital technology in an effort to engage their young people and connect with culture.

The local council and school have connected to facilitate digital making workshops using drones, robots and 3D printing techonologies, supported by the IDX Flint program based at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern.

Yarrabah was a recipient of the IDX Flint program in 2017. Through the program communities receive $15,000 (AUD) of in-kind support from the IDX Initiative for hands on workshops for young people and faciliators, and a tailored kit of equipment and educational resources to the value of $10,000 (AUD).

In 2017 the IDX team travelled to Yarrabah to host the initial facilitator training and workshop. Over 30 young women took part in the training on the day, the first community since the programs inception, to have all female participants. Check out this drone footage shot during that visit exploring Gunggandji Country.

In February 2018 the IDX team returned to Yarrabah to reconnect with teachers at the local school and Mayor Ross Andrews and Councillors, to discuss ways they can use the resources and continue to build the digital skills of their young people.

“It was great to be back in Yarrabah and meet with Mayor Ross Andrews and his Councillors and to sit down and have a yarn about what they need to engage the young people in their community. A big part of our work is to ensure the resources we provide, through the kit and workshops, is tailored to the community’s needs,” IDX Flint Manager Grant Cameron said.

Photo: The IDX team with Yarrabah Shire Council Mayor Ross Andrews and Councillors during their visit to Far North QLD to discuss the IDX Flint program.

During the visit the team gave examples of how other Flint sites have used the different technologies, to strengthen connection to culture and even increase school attendance.

“We discussed what other communities have done with the different tech and ways Yarrabah might like to use it. They were really excited at the potential of using drones for cultural mapping, monitoring bush fires and flooding, and for tourism and media.” Grant said.

The councillors also discussed the lack of digital literacy skills of many community members as a concern and an area they are keen to address.


Fifty kms down the road in Cairns, Julie-Ann Lambourne and Leigh Harris have begun to address this concern felt by many communities in the area. They have set up a digital literacy training hub called DHIVE. The team met with Julie-Ann and visited to hub to learn more.

DHIVE is an Indigenous-led digital inclusion and innovation incubator empowering entrepreneurs from digitally disadvantaged and disconnected groups with the tools to leverage innovation to grow opportunities, build business and improve their communities locally.

“Visiting the hub and hearing about the work Julie-Ann and her team are doing in community was great. There are definitely a lot of opportunities for us to leverage each other’s skills, and connect with the communities we all work with to continue to build digital excellence.”Grant said.

The IDX team plan to return to Yarrabah State School to deliver further training to teachers and community facilitators in the near future and are looking at ways to work collaboratively with DHive and training provider Envizion.


During the visit Deputy Mayor and Traditional Owner Michael Sands and Councillor and Traditional Owner Colin Cedric took IDX FLINT manager Grant Cameron and IDX facilitator Jethro Braico to the Back Beach, where the men captured this aerial footage of the bay with the drone.

“It was a great opportunity for us to show first hand what the technology has to offer and for the Uncles to share yarns and stories about sites along the coastline.” Grant said.