In November 2005 the Art Gallery of New South Wales held the “Pool Party” charity auction, raising more than $900,000 (see PTA news 3.11.05). It was a similar auction to that held in 2000, also made possible by the AGNSW, which resulted in more than $1 million being raised to establish a remote haemodialysis unit in Kintore, 500 kilometres west of Alice Springs. This service was originally established to treat fewer than twenty patients but now treats more than forty.
Hetti Perkins, representing the AGNSW and the Charlie Perkins Children’s Trust, flew in from Sydney to formally open the pool as hundreds of excited community members looked on. When Ronnie Tjampitjinpa finally cut the ribbon the children rushed through the gates, had a quick shower, and then jumped in for their first swim. Irene Nangala and Monica Nangala also gave strong speeches, outlining the rules of the pool. Among these is the “no school, no pool” policy, making it compulsory to attend school in order to gain access to the pool in the afternoon.
It is anticipated that the pool will dramatically improve the health of the children of Kintore. Research into remote community swimming pools has revealed that bathing in chlorinated water significantly reduces many of the chronic health issues particular to Indigenous communities. It will also provide a much needed recreational facility for the school and inter-community sporting events.
On behalf of the Kintore Community, Papunya Tula Artists would like to sincerely thank all of those who donated paintings for the auction, the Pool Party committee, Shapiro Auctioneers and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Special thanks go to the Charlie Perkins Children’s Trust, and in particular Hetti Perkins, who worked tirelessly over the entire period from the auction to the opening. What started as a dream has now been realised through the hard work of the artists and the kind support of those mentioned above. THANK YOU!