Rowley Bourke (OH ’65) – Community Grants, making a difference

Rowley Bourke (OH ’65) was the recipient of a 2014 OHA Community Grant and returned to Melbourne recently to visit family and friends.

Rowley is doing some amazing work in the community in which he resides – Tengkulung, Indonesia. Tengkulung is a small village between Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa. The village is on a peninsula with the Indian Ocean on one side and Benoa Bay on the other. The two bodies of water are about 800 meters apart. The two strips of waterfront are occupied by resorts (The Grand Mirage on the ocean side and the Peninsula Bay on the bay side). The population is about 1,000 of whom 200 are traditional villagers and the other 800 a mix of new arrivals from Bali and Java. The Balinese population (about 600) is Hindu. The Javanese population is Muslim. The two groups live in very good harmony.

Rowley writes..”All the land in the village (including the streets) is privately owned. There is no public land. Thirty five years ago the top soil over a quarter of the village, down to about 3 meters was sold off to Club Med in Nusa Dua for landscaping purposes. The “holes” that were left became the site for a slum development. Accommodation is shanty style. Septic pits serve for sewerage. Water supply is via ground water wells. The pits and the wells are only meters apart. This isn’t a good arrangement in the dry season. In the wet season the whole area floods to about half a meter. The health conditions are appalling. Apart from the hygiene aspects, the still water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and dengue fever has become an increasingly serious issue. The only recreation area in the village was a tract of open (private) land that became very popular for soccer (Balinese are mad keen on soccer). This land had its problems. There wasn’t a single lawn mower in the village and cows were used to keep the grass down. The hygiene issue was compounded by the fact that the kids play in bare feet. The area is about 45 meters by 200 meters. The vegetation was very heavy and the rubbish was an accumulation of 20 years of dumping.”

Rowley sought to rectify this and over a period of 18 months worked hard to clear the land (mostly by hand) with his band of helpers into a useable sports ground for community use.

In 2014 the OHA provided Rowley with a Community Grant for capital and recreational works in this community. By virtue of this grant, his community are now able to gather together in a wonderful, clean and modern community space complete with car park and enjoy each other’s company whilst watching children play on a beautifully manicured sports ground.

The OHA Community Grants project is now open and Old Haileyburians who are similarly doing wonderful things throughout Australia and the world are welcome to apply.

Further information on the Grants Program is available through our Clubs page.

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