Napranum No 8 on Black Star

Napranum is a combination of two Aboriginal languages meaning “meeting place of the people”.  The history of Napranum is consistent with the dispossession of Aboriginal peoples across the country where a clash of cultures collides with the interests of big business and Government.

Our visit was to carry out maintenance and training at Napranum Radio Station on the community of Napranum. We also installed the eighth Black Star remote station on to the QRAM Wide Area Network (WAN) bringing the local station all the benefits of the Black Star network, including new music updates, news and weather reports on the hour 7 days a week and the “must carry” Closing the Gap information services.

Photo: Gerry Pyne

The trip North from Cairns is a long one, over 800k. Clouds of dust thrown up by the heavy traffic leaves the trees beside the road covered in a carpet of red dust.  The leaves droop under the weight of the dust and look sad, waiting for the wet season to give them a good soak and bring them back to life.

It can be a hard country for the traveller – get stuck behind a convoy of ”grey nomads” and you can add 2 hours to the trip. The dust makes it dangerous to even attempt to pass, better to stop well behind. But be warned –  if you stop,  you can get overtaken by another convoy of nomads or  a heavy haulage truck with a dozer or a earthmover on board, heading up to the mines.

As you can see in the video we met with people from the Napranum Council, media workers from the PACE program and the Western Cape College. We had a yarn about the training programs available and how QRAM could form partnerships that would benefit the community.

Just when we thought it was all connected and we were ready to wrap it up, Gerry was plugging in the new UPS and there was a short in the system.  Gerry got an electric shock which sat him back and got his heart racing. That’s the second time he has received a boot, the last was at Woorabinda when he was feeling around under the rack and a mice had eaten through the cables and left bare wire. It was not good for Gerry.

The computer card and the KVM mouse extenders shorted out leaving us with a problem of either coming back to Cairns or looking for a work-around to the problem. After searching the web for a computer place in Weipa we were fortunate to get hold of a replacement video card and resurrect the play out system. We have to come back with some new parts as a result of the power surge and attend to the problems; however the station is all operational.

It was then time for a cup of tea, one last look around and back to Cairns.

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