• Quaden Bayles and his family are undertaking a healing camp throughout the Northern Territory (Supplied: Yarraka Bayles)Source: Supplied: Yarraka Bayles
Quaden Bayles and his family have been focusing on reconnecting with their Yolngu relatives in Arnhem Land as a defamation settlement with Newscorp columnist Miranda Devine is finalised in the Federal Court.
By
Jodan Perry

Source:
NITV NEWS
23 Sep 2020 - 5:32 PM  UPDATED 24 Sep 2020 - 12:54 PM

The Bayles family have linked up with the Balunu Healing Foundation for a two week trip through the Northern Territory to reconnect with relatives and experience Yolngu culture.

Quaden and his family and members of the foundation are travelling through the Top End, taking part in ceremonies with Traditional Owners and spending time on country away from the pressures of the city.

Yarraka Bayles told NITV News that her family has a long history with the area, but in the past they haven't been able to afford the trip. She said monies raised by a gofundme organised by American comedian Brad Williams were used to make the journey.

"This is what we decided to do instead of going to Disneyland. We just felt drawn to this place. We are in Nhulunbuy at the moment, and some of the old fullas here went straight up to Quaden and said 'welcome home'," she said.

"We have a 30 year connection with our Yolngu family, my grandparents first made the connections and now there's old fullas coming up and telling us I remember your grandmother Maureen Watson and younger people will say I remember your father Tiga Bayles, they came to communities and helped us here. It's just so beautiful to see. We don't want to come home."

Ms Bayles said the trip, which was Quaden's idea, is a timely one for the 9-year-old. Just last week his underwent his 11th surgery and had eight teeth removed due to overcrowding in his head.

Quaden was born with achondroplasia, the most common form of Dwarfism, which has had health issues throughout his life. 

"We are just out here on country, swimming in the freshwater springs, having ceremonies and water blessings with the local elders. It's amazing to see just how much strength he is gaining from sitting with our old people."

The group will also head to Yirrkala and Elcho Island and will meet up with legendary Yolngu songman Djalu Gurruwiwi.

Ms Bayles said the family will have to head home to Brisbane next fortnight in order to give witness statements at the Disability Royal Commission.

Moving on from Miranda

In August, Yarraka filed defamation proceedings on behalf of her son against Miranda Devine and News Corp over a series of tweets the columnist posted, after a bullying incident in February.

Quaden made headlines across the world that month, after Yarraka live-streamed a video of the aftermath of a school bullying incident in Brisbane.

In the video, Quaden is inconsolable and speaks of suicide, saying "give me a knife now so I can stab myself in the heart. You watch me."

There was an outpouring of support around the globe for the Murri boy, with celebrities and sports stars sending him well wishes. But there was also a raft of misinformation spread across the internet.  

In February Miranda Devine posted comments on Twitter that suggested Quaden had faked a bullying incident and that Yarraka coached him.

It has been reported that a settlement of almost $200,000 between the family and Ms Devine is set to be finalised in the Federal Court this week. 

While Yarraka could not comment on the matter, she said the family is looking forward to putting the whole saga behind them.

"We can't wait for all the legalities to blow over so we can get on with our lives and I can give my children and grandchildren the lives they deserve," she said.

"I think it sends a really clear message that we've always had our integrity intact, we've always spoken the truth ... and truth prevails."

The settlement follows an apology posted on Twitter by Ms Devine on September 19, where she acknowledged a number of her comments posted in February were "hurtful and untrue."