Category: PAKMAG

Close up of a water droplet hanging from the end of a leaf, with a little earth photoshopped inside the droplet

The Earthshot Prize Comes to Life Thanks to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

In the 1960’s President John. F Kennedy created Moonshot, uniting people from around the world in efforts to put man on the moon. As part of this, amazing new technologies were developed around that time period. In addition, humans saw what we could achieve when we have a similar goal in sight, work as a team and put our brains together.

Now in 2020, Earthshot, a prestigious prize, has been created to incentivise people to join together and make changes that benefit our planet – and subsequently, us. The Earthshot Prize has five ‘Earthshots’; relatively simple yet big goals. These will hugely improve life on earth if achieved by 2030.

The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, perhaps better known as Prince William and Kate Middleton, runs the Earthshot Prize. The Duke and Duchess created the Foundation to unite people in tackling a variety of big challenges in today’s world, making a positive difference on issues that they are passionate about.

The Earthshots and Prizes

The Foundation grounds each Earthshot in scientifically agreed targets that will help repair the damage that our planet has suffered. This is crucial for both us now and future generations, to provide us and them with a good quality life and health. But it also goes beyond that; we have a beautiful planet full of unique nature and animals. This nature and our animals that we love will also suffer if we do not make changes and find ways to solve environmental problems NOW.

The targets form a set of challenges which will hopefully make new ways of thinking, new systems, policies, technologies and overall; solutions to these problems. The five Earthshots are:

  1. Protect and restore nature
  2. Clean our air
  3. Revive our oceans
  4. Build a waste-free world
  5. Fix our climate

Each Earthshot is broken down into more specific goals. For example, ‘Protect and restore nature’ focuses on repairing and protecting the homes of our animals. This could be in grasslands, wetlands, rainforests, lakes or rivers. Every year from 2021 to 2030 =an award ceremony will take place across the world in different cities. There, five winners will be awarded the Earthshot prize, each receiving one million-pound prizes (worth nearly 2 million AUD). Overall, this will provide 50 solutions to our planet’s greatest environmental problems by 2030!  

The Earthshot Prize Council is made up of influential people from around the globe. This team will award each Earthshot until 2030. The council includes Prince William, David Attenborough, Cate Blanchett, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Shakira, Naoko Yamazaki, Indra Nooyi and other well-known people.  

You can read more about each Earthshot and what it aims at achieving, as well as the full council list and list of Global Alliance Partners to Earthshot such as National Geographic, all on the Earthshot Prize website.











10 Deadly Facts about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

We here at Wuchopperen Health Service know we are deadly (deadly means ‘good’ or ‘amazing’ in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander slang), and our Children and Family Centre team love showing our next generations just how deadly they are too.

So, we put our brains together, and 65,000 years of cultural knowledge (another freebie fact – Aboriginal people have been in Australia for at least 65,000 years with some scientists saying it could be closer to 120,000) to come up with ten deadly things we think you and your kids should know about us!

  • We are the oldest surviving culture in the world.

  • We have art older than the pyramids – Aboriginal rock art in Western Australia’s Dampier Archipelago is at least twice as old as the Pyramids of Egypt.

  • In addition, we have over 500 different languages/dialects.


  • Ancient Fish Traps found in Brewarrina in New South Wales may be the oldest man-made things on the planet!


  • In Torres Strait Islander cultures, when someone passes away we have a funeral. But, a few years later we unveil the headstone at the grave site and come together to celebrate the life of that person. This is a happy celebration of the things that person has done and the life they have led. We feel it is too sad to do something like this at the funeral.


  • There were, and continues to be many different roles in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Our society is filled with ancient knowledge and people who today we would call scientists that designed tools and implements, astrologists who knew the stars, architects who designed and built shelters, Law Men who oversaw the judiciary system, dieticians who knew what plants and animals were good for you, agriculturalists who cultivated the huge fields of native rice, yams and other foods and genealogists who maintained the kinship system.


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait art is very different between the regions of Australia. Most people are familiar with dot paintings which are normally from the Central Desert regions of Australia. Whereas in Far North Queensland, you are more likely to see geometric shapes. In Arnhem Land you will see a more x-ray style of painting. This is achieved by using long grasses as paintbrushes. However, in the Torres Strait, lino print carving is the most common style.


  • There are over 270 islands in the Torres Strait, with the northern most island only 4km from Papua New Guinea.


  • The Dhari is a traditional headdress worn and made by Torres Strait Islander men, made from feathers and other materials. It is often used in traditional ceremony and can vary from island to island.


  • The most common Aboriginal languages spoken are: Arrernte in Central Australia, Djambarrpuyngu in Arnhem Land, Pitjantjatjara in Western Desert Region, Warlpiri in the Northern Territory, Tiwi in the Tiwi Islands and Murrinhpatha in Wadeye in the Northern Territory. However, one of the most common languages is Kriol. It is a blend of English and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait languages.


Read more HERE. 








Children MacKillop uniform bend down next to grass

Witness the Amazing Growth at MacKillop!

Growth at MacKillop!

Nestled in the valley between the Pyramid and Mount Peter lies MacKillop Catholic College, one of the Far North’s most contemporary schools. The story of MacKillop has been one of continual growth, from humble beginnings as an open cane field, to what is now a bustling campus.

The southern corridor is one of the fastest growing areas in Cairns, with significant residential developments. MacKillop Catholic College is responding to the increasing demand for school placements and is ideally positioned to cater for future expansion in this region.

The College originally started in 2016 with 80 students from Prep to Year 3. In the past five years MacKillop has grown to over 500 students.

2020 saw the first Year 7 students in the brand-new secondary facility, so the first Year 12 students will graduate in 2025. By the end of the decade the school will expand to a projected enrolment of 1600 students.

In addition, MacKillop purposely designed the contemporary facilities to maximise student involvement in the learning process. They’ve also been designed to help to lay the groundwork for diverse pathways into senior secondary schooling. This includes options for students who will enter the world of work, pursue vocational training, or opt for tertiary education. Plus, MacKillop’s next phase of building the college will expand with state-of-the-art learning spaces. These will cater for The Arts, Hospitality and Industrial Design and Technology.

Overall it is a remarkable tale of development and expansion. But, there is much more to the story than buildings and enrolment numbers. At the heart of the College are the students, who the school supports and encourages to grow and achieve their potential. Furthermore, MacKillop’s pastoral care program fosters the development of the whole child – academically, socially and spiritually. If you want a school that will nurture your child to learn and grow in a supportive environment, look no further. Come and discover what MacKillop has to offer!

Taking applications now for Prep and Year 7 in 2022 – there are no application fees!









21st Century Grandparents

When I was growing up, the term ‘grandparents’ had a very different meaning than it does now. As a kid, I associated the term with Bingo, ugly coloured carpeting in a super clean house and old people. So awful, I know, but remember – I was just a kid. And, to be fair, my grandparents’ carpet was hideous.

Now that I’m a parent, the term ‘grandparent’ means freshly baked cookies, on-call babysitters, an extra set of hands and a playmate for my kids. It doesn’t necessarily mean ‘old’ anymore, but rather ‘experienced’. Still with a super clean house though.

The Joy of Grandparents

In today’s crazy 21st century, where we parents need all the help we can get, we often turn to our own parents to guide us and help us along the way. More than 40% of both infants (48.9%) and four to five-year olds (44.8%) had face-to-face contact with a grandparent at least weekly. This is definitely a step up from when we were growing up.

This extra contact benefits everyone. It’s great for us parents – free babysitters, woot woot! It’s awesome for kids too – the more playmates, role models and people who adore them, the better!

But studies also show that 21st century grandparents who are taking on this more involved role actually live longer too. Researchers found that caregiving grandparents had a 37 per cent chance of living longer when compared to non-caregiving grandparents and non-grandparents. It’s a win-for-all.

How to be the World’s Best Grandparent

Of course, being an active grandparent takes its toll. Many grandparents are still working themselves. Many are busy with other activities or live overseas or out-of-state. Many are more than happy to only see the grandkids a couple times a year. But if you are looking for ways to take on a more active role in your grandkids’ lives and really earn that “World’s Greatest Grandma” mug the kids are most likely going to buy you next Christmas, then here are a few tips to bring on board.

  1. Get Tech-Smart

Okay, not smart. But tech-familiar. Even downloading a few fun apps on your iPad will delight the grandkids. And, if you happen to know a thing or two about Fortnite or Minecraft, well, you’re well ahead of the game.

  1. Offer Help When You Can

The main form of help? Childcare. A sleepover at Nana and Papa’s is not only exciting for the kids, but much appreciated by parents too. Just imagine what we could do with 12-15 solid kid-free hours.

  1. Respect Mum’s Rules

This most likely means NOT giving the grandkids chocolate at 6pm, just before you return them home. It also probably means limiting the excessive toy and gift giving and trying to stick to a similar routine in terms of naps, meals and appropriate behaviour.

  1. Be There, but Not Too Much There

Avoid offering unsolicited advice or trying to take over on the parenting duties. Help, yes. Control, no.

  1. Set up Skype Dates

If you live out of state, consider setting up playdates over Skype or Facetime. You can virtually

retend play. My daughter and her Nana would do this for hours and hours when she was little. We called it ‘Babyskyping’ and it was a literal lifesaver. Nana would entertain my daughter over Skype so I could cook dinner, fold the washing or even clean the whole house.

  1. Consider Volunteering at School

Again, only if you have the time and as long as Mum and Dad are okay with it. But having Papa come to school and read to the class for an hour a week will mean the world to your grandchild!

  1. Bake and Craft

Two things many modern parents often don’t have time for! If these hobbies are not your thing, share your passion for other hobbies that you enjoy with your grandkids. It’s always great for kids to learn how to do different things and they will love having Grandma or Papa as their teacher.

  1. Cheer Them On

Offer to be the chauffeur to drive the kids to their activities and cheer them on at some of their weekend games/school carnivals.

The Types of Grandparents

In 1965, leading gerontologists conducted a study to identify five different patterns of grandparenting. It’s been 55 years since that study but the types of grandparents still apply today.

“Formal” Nan and Pops

Formal Nan and Pops take on the traditional “grandparent” role. They provide background support, come to special occasions and events, take grand-children on occasional outings and play a role in the children’s lives, but are not overly involved.

“Fun” G-Ma and Poppy

Fun is number one with G-Ma and Poppy. They bring out all the stops to entertain the grandkids, even if it means not following the rules Mum and Dad have put into place.

“Surrogate” Nana and Papa

Considered “Mummy and Daddy #2”, surrogate grandparents take over many of the parenting duties, often meaning the relationship is more akin to parent and child.

“Wise Old” Grandpappy and Grandmammy

At the top of the family tree is Grandpappy and Grandmammy who dispense advice, have particular ideas of how and what needs to be done and are not afraid to share these ideas with you. Wise old Grandpappy and Grandmammy may be a little on the old school side and aren’t afraid to remind you that when they were growing up, they had to walk 10km to school, barefoot and uphill both ways.

“Christmas Card” Grandma and Grandpa

Also known as the “distant” grandparents, they tend to play a minor role in their grandkids’ lives, perhaps sending a card on birthdays and meeting up on Christmas, possibly due to geographical location or simply a different lifestyle.

In many instances, modern day grandparents are a combination of the best qualities of all or some of the above

Don’t forget Sunday, 25 October is National Grandparents Day!

It’s all about celebrating the role grandparents and older people play in our society and in our lives. It’s not just about now, but what they have done in the past too. So, connect across generations and set aside the 25th to spend the day with your older loved ones and let them know how important they are to you.







Transitioning Your Tween to High School

Transitioning to high school is one of life’s significant rites of passage. It can be exciting, nerve racking, overwhelming and rewarding – all at the same time – for both parents and students. It is a time of new challenges, new goals and new experiences.

Tips and tricks to help make the transition smoother:

Involve your tween in transition programs that your new high school may offer. This is extremely beneficial in building relationships before they enter high school. It can also help with those first day worries about not knowing anyone.

Over the school holidays, sleep routines usually end up with late nights (and even later mornings!). It is important around the last week of school holidays that the routine is shifted back to what they will experience back at school. Moving a sleep routine normally has to happen slowly with moving bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night.

The first week of school is busy! Having a clear pick up spot helps to reduce the anxiety in your Year 7 student. Given how much new information they retain, it is also helpful to have this written in their diary or in their lunch box so that they can refer to it if they forget during the day.

Schools are hectic places. Help your tween stay organised by colour coding subject areas. This can be extremely useful when trying to find your books quickly in your locker. If your school uses a diary, having the subjects highlighted in the same colour in their timetable is also really helpful. In general, having a timetable in their diary, taped to the inside of their locker (if permissible) and also at home helps with organisation.

High school may mean young people are using lockers for the first time. If you can, try and buy the lock for the locker before the first day of school to allow your child to practise. Some schools have the Year 7 students attend a day before the other grades. This allows them the time and space to learn their way around the school and to orientate them to lockers, classrooms and other school processes without all the other students around. Check and see if the high school your child is attending has a peer support program.

Schools with Defence Transition programs as well as Indigenous and Multicultural Support programs may also be important to your family.

Remember – young people find it hard sometimes to tell you if they are feeling anxious, nervous or excited. Instead, they may communicate through their behaviour. If you are concerned about how your child will transition or is transitioning then speak to your chosen high school to develop a plan.

About the Author

Dannielle Charge is a registered Psychologist and School Counsellor at Ignatius Park College. She has worked with children, young people and their families for over 20 years in health and education settings.






My Child Wants a Pet. What Is the Ideal First Pet?

So, your child has asked you for a pet. Pets can be a great way to teach responsibility and empathy, but they do come with a lifelong commitment. It’s very important that the decision to get a pet is taken seriously, no matter how small the animal. Your pet will require time, cleaning, feeding, watering, shelter, and stimulation, long after your child may have grown bored of them. As they are sentient beings, we need to ensure that we’re offering them a safe and comfortable home for the rest of their life. The ideal first pet is clean, simple to care for, has some personality, and let’s be honest- reasonably short lived. For this reason pets such as turtles, and some fish or birds, which can live for thirty to one hundred years, are probably out. So, what is the ideal first pet(s)?

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are friendly, cute little critters and are full of personality. They are great for kids and make an ideal first pet, especially because they provide that tactile reward of petting something soft! Guinea pigs live for around five to eight years, and they require a large enclosure, and regular fresh timothy hay and green vegetables. They can run free on the lawn under supervision, but watch for birds and snakes as they make a pretty tasty snack for predators. You will generally need to clean out their cage once weekly. The main problems we see with guinea pigs are that they can be territorial. This can result in them occasionally harming one another. But, this can be discouraged by having plenty of space and purchasing pigs from the same litter.


Rats are intelligent, active, engaging, quite bonded pets, and can be a very underrated pet. They can be toilet trained using much the same techniques as for a dog.You can feed them a wide variety of foods but there are definitely some to avoid, such as blue cheese, green bananas, green potato skin, and anything with citrus in it. They need a very large cage with plenty of things to climb on and hide in. This cage will need to be cleaned once weekly. Rats should ideally should get plenty of contact and socialisation with people. As for guinea pigs, sometimes they can suffer inter-rat aggression. They can be a little prone to respiratory diseases. Rats generally live for one to two years.


Budgerigars are from the parrot family and are beautiful, quite intelligent, fairly clean pets. In the wild, they form enormous social flocks that fly hundreds of kilometers. Keeping them alone in a small cage probably feels like solitary confinement to some – they need plenty of space, toys, puzzles, mirrors, space, and socialisation. They can live up to 10 years, and their cage needs to be cleaned regularly. They can be trained to step up onto fingers, sing, and perform other small tricks. Generally they are healthy pets but can pick up some diseases from wild birds on occasion.


Most of us have had a goldfish at some point in time. They are quite a hardy fish and fairly simple to care for. Surprisingly, they can be trained to perform tricks such as swimming through underwater hoops! Their water needs to be partially changed every week, and the main problem beginners have with them is overfeeding. Excessive feeding can lead to swim bladder issues. With appropriate feeding, regular water changes, and the occasional tank clean, they can live for ten to fifteen years.


Dogs are probably the best overall family pet and ideal first pet, however they also come with the greatest commitment. They tend to be much more of a family member than just a pet. Dogs are also a great way to get your kids outdoors and socialising. There are many wonderful dog breeds out there, but probably the most family friendly breeds would be Staffordshire Bull Terriers (their energy tends to be able to exhaust even young children!), Labradors or Golden Retrievers. Or, if your children are quiet, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Some breeds, such as Maremmas, aren’t quite suited for family life, so be sure to do your research and meet the puppy and their parents prior to getting one. Dogs need walking, cleaning, training, socialisation, grooming, preventative care and vet care.


Cats can be good family pets, but some cats prefer their own space over spending time with children. If you’re getting a cat for your children, be sure to spend plenty of time getting your kids to meet different cats, and look for one that loves being petted and picked up by your children. Cats are generally very clean pets. If they are indoors they require regular litter changes and feeding, otherwise they are usually fairly independent. One major benefit of cats is that they tend to not be as demanding pets compared to dogs.

There are many great first pets out there, though if you feel that your child may not be quite ready for a pet, it’s okay to wait longer until you get one. There are many different ways of getting an ‘animal fix’ instead of getting a pet for yourself. You can go to the zoo, have a friend’s dogs come over, or visit your crazy cat friend’s home, for example!

Visit the Cairns Veterinary Clinic’s website HERE.