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Meet Joe Perner – Trainee Project Manager

Where are you and your family from?

I was born and bred in Katherine. Most of my family are from Katherine although my  grandmother, who was a member of the Stolen Generation, is from Elliot and is a Larrakia woman (Larrakia being the traditional owners of the Darwin region).

What do you think are the best skills you bring to EON?

I am great with people! I really enjoy interacting with my communities and with the kids. I find it easy to make connections and I love seeing any new students’ faces at the school.

What does a typical day at EON look like?

I get up early and am generally at the school by 7:30am. I like to talk to the students before school starts and have a yarn as they eat their breakfast. They ask : “What’s happening today Mr Joey?” and I tell them what’s on for the day in terms of EON classes. After school commences,  you’ll find me either in the classroom or outside teaching the students in the garden.

When I’m not teaching I’m in the garden weeding, watering and checking the plants for any pests.

The students are so interested in coming to the garden and seeing the changes as our plants grow. The other day I pulled some corn off a crop – corn the students had helped me plant- and offered it to them to eat raw. Initially the kids didn’t want to, but I said “C’mon, just try it” and they all ate it and they all loved it!

What is a goal in your new role at EON?

With my new role at EON I am looking forward to building more confidence in my teaching. The way I see it, the kids are teaching me and I am teaching them.

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?

I love spending time with my own children- I have 6 kids, 4 of whom are at home with me. I like to take them out fishing on my boat. I also enjoy riding my motorbike.

We’re intrigued by the idea of exporting boab trees – your previous work in your family business. How old is the oldest boab you have transported and where did you send it?

The boabs came from areas of the country in Kununurra that were going to get ploughed up- my father got a permit to salvage them.

I would say the oldest tree would have been over 300 years old- we had one that weighed 15.6 tonnes. I think it may have gone to Georgia. We also exported trees to the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and China.


Retic lessons in the EON Garden

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