Continuing the story from Richmond Ramble 2 - end of an era at Hawkesbury Agriculture College, it was many years since I had last been in Richmond. The last time had been an air show at the Richmond RAAF base. There I had sat in the sun at the front of the Hawker de Havilland tent drinking beer and watching a Harrier jump jet perform on the tarmac just in front of me. The noise was deafening, but I had enjoyed every minute.
Sydney may be an especially big city in global population terms, but it sprawls. It's also become remarkably fragmented. People from different areas never meet, let alone mix. Talking to some of the Eastern Suburbs' young about my trip, I got blank looks. Where's Richmond? What's the Nepean River? It becomes the Hawkesbury River. Where's the Hawkesbury River? It's that big river you drive over just out of Sydney when you take the Expressway north. Oh!
I kid you not.
I don't have GPS in the car and prefer not to use it anyway. As an aside, remarkable story here in Australia about police having to rescue people mislead by Apple GPS. They ended up 75k from their destination in the middle of a semi-arid national park with no water. I got out the map and with with some additional help from Google maps plotted a course to avoid tolls.
I said that Sydney sprawled. My journey took me through the familiar territory of the inner west and then out past Parramatta where I presently work. Many kilometres later I turned right onto the Northern Road. This was territory that I used to known well since I often drove that road in my journeys between Canberra and Armidale. It's almost unrecognisable now, of course, because of the new housing. Finally, one hour twenty minutes after leaving home, I arrived in Richmond and collected a friend who had promised to guide me around Richmond starting with the University campus.
It's still not a big campus, but there was not as much left of the old College as I had expected. In a way, this photo captures the changes. While the building itself has been designed to fit in architecturally, there is a considerable difference between the old ag college and the offerings of the NSW Police Leadership Centre.
Since this is a ramble, another digression. The NSW Police Force has been trying to increase the number of Aboriginal people in the force. One element of this is IPROWD, Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way.
Run by TAFE NSW's Western Division in conjunction with a number of partners, IPROWD provides bridging courses at a number of centres across NSW designed to bridge the gap between the educational levels of many Aboriginal students and those required to enter the Police Academy at Goulburn. A total support package is provided that extends well beyond educational qualifications narrowly defined. Many of the students are housed in houses owned or built by the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office using funding from the Federal Government's National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing.
The program has been a considerable success measured by the increase in the Aboriginal intake at the Police Academy, as well as the success of IPROWD participants in gaining work elsewhere.
Just down the road is the old principal's residence, Yarramundi House. I wouldn't mind living there myself!
On our way, we paused for a while to watch a gymkhana. I am not going to give you a photo of that; I want to use them in a separate story! We finished our tour at the old stables, now the student centre.
That ended the visit. It was time to get something for lunch.