I suppose it is very open to how statistics are interpreted, but the town of Nguiu on the northern Australian island of Bathurst Island is right up there, if not at the top of pile, in the suicide stakes and of course substance abuse. It is hardly welcome knowledge and perhaps we should just sit back, wring our hands and demand our government does something, as long as they don't spend too much of our money.
The Tiwi Islands are made up of two main islands known as Melville Island and Bathurst Island and are populated by Tiwi indigenous Australians. The Tiwi are quite different to the mainland indigenous who live just a short sea trip away on mainland Australia in the Northern Territory.
With the local Tiwis speaking their own language and English as a second language, literacy was extremely low, as was numeracy, in what could be described as a quite dysfunctional society . But some good news. A highly motivated school principal, Peter McNamara, and the school board have made some very positive changes at Tiwi College.
Is it a bit mission like as when aborigines were taken in and educated? Perhaps, but it seems to be working. If the current generation of Tiwi are better educated and able to get decent jobs, no doubt the suicide and substance abuse problems will fall away.
I must say, while I knew the Tiwi Islands were off the coast of the Northern Territory and the a disproportionate number of fine Aussie Rules footballers come from there, I knew little else. Click on the map from Monash University to see where exactly the islands are.