6 August 2019

Francis, a proud Aboriginal man supported by Life Without Barriers in Cairns travelled back to his community for the first time in 20 years for a very special return to country trip.

Image: Francis visiting the Lockhart River Community

Francis is a proud Aboriginal man who comes from the Lockhart River community, about 800 km from Cairns on the eastern side of Cape York Peninsula. Francis has complex health needs and wished to return home before he becomes too unwell to travel. Our Cairns Operations Manager Asher Meadows and Francis' Support Worker flew with him to Lockhart River, with additional nursing support from the Lockhart River Health Clinic to ensure Francis was comfortable on the journey.

Going back to Lockhart River was incredibly significant visit for Francis, as he hadn’t been there since he was a teenager, and most of his family are still living there. Francis has requested to return to country to die when his time comes.  During the visit Francis reconnected with family and went to the house where he grew up. They went fishing at Lockhart River beach, where Francis could see his family’s homelands and cooked dugong over the fire. They also travelled to some of the places in the area that are significant for the local people and in particular Francis family. 

“It was a wonderful chance to connect with kin and country, and we could not truly measure how significant this visit home was for Francis. On the way to the airport and whilst on the plane to Lockhart River tears were streaming down Francis’ cheeks”

Asher Meadows, Operations Manager, Life Without Barriers Cairns

The teams hopes that return trips home become a regular experience for Francis, so that he can continue to make vital connections with his kin and country.

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