Supervisor learns from APY culture

Spending 17 days of each month in the often harsh, unique and remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands working as a community service work camp supervisor, David Franklin said he was humbled to receive the Australian Corrections Medal.

Mr Franklin previously worked in the justice system as a correctional officer in Port Lincoln and Port Augusta prisons before becoming an APY lands supervisor in 2004, helping Indigenous offenders perform community service work.

Mr Franklin works a 28-day roster, with 17 days on and 11 days off, supervising indigenous offenders who have been sentenced by the court to perform community service hours and pay off fines.

Mr Franklin said he enjoyed working within the different culture in the APY lands, and as a former bricklayer, he liked working alongside other people. 

He said he had built rapport in the community over the years, which helped him work the job and be recognised by people in the APY lands.

“I feel humbled because there are so many other people out there in the APY lands, especially my work colleagues at the Coober Pedy Community Corrections Centre, that do a great job, and they don’t get all the medals, certificates and the recognition they deserve,” Mr Franklin said.

He said an insight into Aboriginal culture had influenced his worldview and westerners could learn from their culture.

“It makes you realise what’s important...what to leave in and what to leave out,” Mr Franklin said. 

“We (white culture) teach possessions, house, car, job, job, job…  

“(It is interesting) how deep their spirituality runs...very spiritual people, very spiritual.”

He said the focus of family and community stood out to him, as well as the lack of possessions.

“They have different priorities,” Mr Franklin said.

Mr Franklin drives more than 3500 kilometres for each trip to the APY lands, driving more than 42,000 kilometres each year for his job. 

He will continue to work in the APY lands supervising traditional and semi-traditional offenders in various communities. 

“I consider myself a very fortunate person – I get paid for being myself.”