New Staff

Cheat sheet for new staff at Shepherdson College.

Vacancies are always occuring, click here for how to apply to teach in the NT. But also write to

This is an insightful site to begin to understand the perspective of our students.


  • Telstra is the only service provider with mobile coverage here but you get 4g in town.

  • Home internet is ADSL2+ or NBN via satelite however you have to be very persistent with telstra to get connected.

  • As the houses are steel clad mobile internet and phone reception will be poor indoors.


  • Address for your mail:

C/ Shepherdson College

PMB 74

Via Winnellie 0822

  • Bring stamps with you, as you can drop post in our mail bag at the front office.

  • Get an account with Seaswift (1800 424 422) or Auriga (07 3666 4041) to send over any bulky things.

  • Coles, Woolworths, Greenies will deliver to the barges. (as will most darwin shops).

    • There are 4 shops here, prices for healthy produce are good but range is limited.

  • No alcohol, Elcho is a dry community, don’t try to bring in grog, it doesn’t end well.

  • On school days Henry will collect any barge orders on Tuesday for you, just ask the office to let him know it's coming.


  • ICT

    • Most should have a brand new interactive projector and speaker system with a teacher microphone.

    • Wifi is throughout the school, laptops and chromebooks are available for students.

    • You and your students have a google account via and also an NTSchools account. Someone will help you out with a laptop and account information when you get here.

  • Yolŋu Matha (people’s tongue)

    • Your are part of a teaching team. Your 'Assistant Teacher' (Community Teacher) to co-plan and deliver with and to facilitate with communication and understanding. Students are encouraged to develop their first language skills throughout their schooling. Including Yolŋu sign language.

  • Reading / Writing

    • Pre-reading skills are taught to parents at FAFT, from birth to 4yo.

    • Reading and writing up to grade 3 is in Yolŋu Matha.

    • Formal English reading and writing commences Year 4, alongside Yolŋu Matha

    • From Grade 4 up English is the main classroom language - using Read Write Inc. (supported with PM readers)

    • Using Walking Talking Texts for English and our home grown LPC resources for Djambarrpuyŋu.

  • Curriculum.

    • All classes use Walking Talking Text as their base for literacy.

    • Younger students have Yolŋu Matha (YM) readers and reading program.

    • Talking Namba is the basis for our Math Curriculum.

  • Learning Together

    • As a Yolŋu bilingual-biliteracy school we meet for an hour every week to learn about culture and identity from each other (Yolŋu and Balanda), and language and culture in knowing our Yolŋu learners and curriculum delivery. - You are expected to make the most of this free PD session.


  • Can be warm, and humid, but rarely over 35 (or under 25).

  • Can be wet. - But you are still advised to wear covered footwear due to melioidosis.


  • Crocodiles are common, take care around water.

  • Jellyfish are also deadly.

  • Snakes are few, due to the cane toads, but take care.

  • People are friendly, but you need to lock or lose anything that can be locked or moved.

  • Dogs are mostly friendly, but if ‘cheeky’ pick up a rock, you probably don’t even need to throw it.


  • Melioidosis is rare, boils scabies and other tropical infections are common but minor issues.

    • However a tropical boil on a joint or your head is SERIOUS seek medical advice.

  • Miwatj clinic offer a free medical service, however you are advised to see your regular GP and get scripts filled while on break.

  • There is no chemist, so stock up on cold & flu pills, etc.


  • Relocation can be organised once you have sent back your signed contract.

      • Contact Carlene Tawhi

      • Travel Officer

      • Arnhem Education Office

      • Arnhem Education Office, Matthew Flinders Way NT 0880

      • PO Box 446, Nhulunbuy, NT 0881

      • (08) 8987 0885


  • Houses are provided to teachers by territory housing, of varying quality, but issues are quickly fixed when reported.

  • Bring

    • Crockery & cooking gear

    • Shower curtain

    • Sheets (blanket in the dry season)

    • Towels.

    • Clothes

      • Lightweight natural fabrics are best. -

        • 3B cream or antiperspirant to avoid rashes.

  • If your contract extends beyond 6 months the department will organise an uplift, so keep receipts if you bring over more than your initial allocation such as a vehicle.

  • Cyclones

    • Your house has been through two category 4 cyclones in 2015 and is fine, just stock up on a week's worth of water and torch batteries during cyclone season, and a can opener.

    • You will have a chest freezer, but the power will be lost in a cyclone, so freeze lots of water beforehand to keep it cool.

  • Swimming, there is no pool, the bay is full of stingers and crocodiles. - Bring a hose and a bucket.

Community relations.

  • Go slow, be patient, listen with both ears and remain a listener. There are more similarities between Yolŋu and Balanda cultures than differences, and the differences are more about boundaries.

    • A person’s front yard is their living room, don’t just walk in, call out and wait.

    • It is a sign of disrespect to hold one’s gaze at someone. One glance is enough, particularly to those of an older generation.

    • Depending on your relationship, it's fine to humbug for things. - Fine to say no too, but use an excuse, (ie ‘Sorry my wife spent all my cash this month on ebay.) not a flat out NO.

  • Sign language is strong here, a raised eyebrow is an effusive greeting. (also means ‘Yes’ so when you ask a child a question they will look past you and flick their eyebrows to respectfully answer in the affirmative.)

  • Due to western media, Balanda have a poor reputation. It is respectful to wear loose fitting clothes that cover you well. It's also more comfortable in the heat.

  • Also due to the possibility of slander, it's best not to let children visit without their parents. (See code of ethics and protective practices)

  • Permits.

    • You don’t need an NLC permit to fly here, however if driving out of town you do need to ask the landowner's permission (also need to work out how to drive across water).

    • But you may need a Essential worker card depending on Covid restrictions.


School - if you can’t access the school resources email Eric to get an account

Other useful documents below.

Staff Handbook September 2013.docx
Teaching Teams.pdf
You're in new county-low res.pdf
Growing-Up-Our-Way-Aboriginal-Torres-Strait-Islander-Child-Rearing-Matrix (1).pdf
Elcho Island Vital Statistics 1969.pdf