The Bunyip rises

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A seven-metre long dragon boat is emerging from the hands of Croker Island children.

The builders in the months long project are Mamaruni School students working to finish the vessel ahead of a mid-October community launch.

The naval engineers have completed 60 per cent of The Bunyip, but the finished hull is yet to be fully strengthened and the seats attached.

Teacher Jotham Krom, leader of the employability skills program, said the faces of the 10 shipwrights “light up” when they realise the importance of their work.

“We have seen students’ faces light up when they see their small contribution making a difference to the project,” he said.

“It has been great seeing students start to see the vision (of the boat) and take photos to show at home.

“When the project began, the pace was slower because great emphasis was placed on precision and persistence.

“Now I am encouraging the students to be more efficient, speedier, and to appreciate the importance of sticking with a job to the end.

“Construction has enhanced students’ numerical and communication skills, their concentration, their capacity to persevere and independently use hand tools.”

Mr Krom said the handover of the boat to the community is being delayed to allow more students to participate in its manufacture.

“It’s hoped the dragon boat will be used for social activities that promote team building and a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

“The dream is to train a team of enthusiastic paddlers and enter a sponsored dragon boat race in Darwin.”

Students with the Bunyip boat
The builders in the months long project are Mamaruni School students working to finish the vessel ahead of a mid-October community launch.

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