Alex Werner and his family moved from the inner suburbs of Melbourne to Wadeye for work
“We liked the idea of our kids growing up and understanding the true sense of another culture, and to realise the world is a much bigger place than the suburbs of Melbourne.”
Alex Werner and Emily Yap moved from Melbourne to the remote Aboriginal community of Wadeye more than three years ago – and haven’t looked back since.
The couple, who have a four-year-old daughter Lucy and a twenty-month-old son Arthur, came for work, and the chance to be immersed in an old and vibrant culture.
“We liked the idea of our kids growing up and understanding the true sense of another culture, and to realise the world is a much bigger place than the suburbs of Melbourne,” said Alex, who has been the head of the primary school at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart since January 2017.
While Wadeye has received bad press over the years, all Alex and Emily see are local people dedicated to the education of children and maintaining their culture.
“I work with the most amazing and dedicated people and the culture here is very much alive and well,” said Alex.
“We’ve had the privilege of going on country with TOs, listening to their dreaming story. Family is also important here and we experience the community through our kids which is great.
“Our daughter Lucy has been given an Aboriginal name. The local kids say hello to her in the Murrinhpatha language, and she knows the names of a few animals. She even tells me to sit down in Murrinhpatha.”
Emily, who works in administration at the primary school, said they also love the laidback lifestyle in the Top End. “We both came from a hectic city life and it’s a much slower pace here,” she said.
“There’s so many opportunities to explore and travel around NT which is pretty amazing. We’ve been to Kakadu and Litchfield and love spending time in Darwin.”
Alex and Emily, who hail from the inner suburbs of Melbourne, said they were surprised at how quickly they have adapted to life in the Territory. “We’ve always had an affinity with Melbourne, but I didn’t expect to not be so bothered about moving back anytime soon,” said Alex.