For the thirteenth successive year, ‘Christmas Father’ has visited seven remote Martu communities around Telfer in Western Australia’s Western Desert region.
‘Christmas Father,’ as he is called in these parts, brings cheer, presents and festive food and treats to the 300 children living in Kunawarritji, Punmu, Warralong, Marble Bar, Nullagine, Jigalong and Parnngurr over two weeks in December each year, coinciding with the end of the school year. The older fellow with an enormous white beard in the blazing-red suit is now a well-known and popular visitor in each of the communities.
Since 2005, Newcrest has delivered Santa, together with his sacks of toys, and tucker, to the people in these communities, in a gesture of goodwill. Ben Bryant, Manager External Affairs and Social Performance, said the Community Relations team visited the communities in vehicles filled with cartons loaded with age-appropriate presents for the children, freshly prepared food, and Santa.
“It’s a happy annual logistical challenge,” said Ben. “We clock up about 2,000 kilometres over the journeys in just a few days. “The gifts start being collected from shops, outlets and various suppliers from early in the year. Many of the presents are given free-of-charge from various suppliers and, of course, these items are greatly appreciated. The best thing about this exercise is seeing the joy on so many young faces,” said Ben.
RAWA school principal Kate McKenzie welcomed Santa’s attendance. “The best thing about this exercise is seeing the joy on so many young faces,” Kate said.