Aurukun’s rising star takes his home soil wherever his footprints lead.
It's Wednesday afternoon at 5.30pm, the perfect time to go outside as the sweltering heat resides and the Aurukun sun starts to descend across the vast red dirt country. One young man makes his way down to the local PCYC to tie has laces and run a short one kilometre to the boat ramp they call Mipwun. Barefoot cousins and youth of the town run alongside or jump on their bikes and race him on the weekly exercise to get his mob involved and outside.
That young motivator is Cape York Leaders Program alumni, Waynead Wolmby, a past Academic Leaders Secondary student who attended Marist College Ashgorve from 2014 to 2018.
Hailing from the tiny remote community of Aurukun, Waynead has thrived since completing his formal education on the scholarship. Now at the tender age of 21, he is well on his way to creating a solid foundation for his future aspirations of becoming a Youth Worker or School Teacher. He has returned to his home community of Aurukun where he is working at the Aurukun State School as a Teacher Aide.
In 2020, Waynead decided to trial for a spot in The Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF). The running program is designed to promote health to create change in Indigenous communities while moulding local future Indigenous leaders. The program selects Indigenous men and women aged between 18-30 to partake in marathons across the country and endure months of physical and mental training in the lead up world-renowned marathon events. Waynead was ecstatic to learn he was selected for the 2021 squad and be involved in a team that would help him learn
Now a graduate of the IMF, the Wik Mungkan and Kugu Muminh man is now ready for his next big marathon, as he heads to Greece on November 8 for the Athens Marathon. He’ll run alongside his fellow 2020 and 2021 graduates.
This will be Waynead’s first time overseas and such a milestone moment for an Aurukun man to gain exposure to a world of possibilities after being raised in a remote community with limited access to opportunities for youth.
Waynead Wolmby after running his second marathon in July at the Weipa Running Festival
The power of running has helped Waynead lead by example in his own community. “It’s good to see kids active and healthy in community and my people making healthy lifestyle choices.” One of the teachers at the school also runs during the week with him to do longer distance running and keep up his training momentum.
The kids back home, they asked me about the marathon I ran in Alice Springs at midnight, which was 42 kilometres. They say to me, ‘how did you do it? Did you get stuck?’ I tell them that you hit brick walls in running like you do in life but your mindset helps you to keep going.
Waynead with some of the community members in Aurukun.
The Aurukun O-Hub has supported Waynead throughout his years. “It’s a one stop shop, I come here for all sorts, to help complete forms, banking or just to yarn.” The O-Hub is a community centre that supports individuals and families to take control of their lives. Waynead is well known to the O-Hub staff, and he praises their support and direction towards his overseas adventure. He speaks fondly of Financial Counselling Intern, Maddison Reys, “Maddison helped me a lot. He helped me complete my passport paperwork by gathering my Birth Certificate and other forms of identification and the next thing I knew it was all sorted. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Maddison’s help.”
“I just picked up my passport!” Waynead says in such a surreal realisation. “From little remote community of Aurukun, I’m now going overseas and I want our mob to look at me and know they can travel the world too.”