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    Aboriginal community beckons for Harry


    Prince Harry packed up his room at Eton on his last day of school and is expected to head to Australia on the traditional English teenager's gap year.

    The third in line to the British throne has revealed an interest, and quite a talent, in Aboriginal art and a stint in Australia after leaving school is his likely sojourn before embarking on a military career.

    Harry, 18, sat his final A-Level exam today in art, one of only two subjects he took in the English equivalent of the HSC. The other was geography.

    As he packed a Land Rover with his belongings and pumped his fists at the end of his school life, St James's Palace announced he would apply for Sandhurst military academy and was expected to join the army late next year.

    While he struggled academically, he has shone in sport and with a paint brush, and his interest in art could take him to an Aboriginal community.




    St James's Palace said it would announce details of Harry's travel plans in September, but speculation was mounting that work in an Aboriginal community would be the ideal way for the adventurous prince to contribute to society while also pursuing a personal interest.

    Australia is the number one destination for British school leavers who take a year off before university, a break which has become a rite of passage for many English students.

    His father Prince Charles, who spent a term at Geelong Grammar as a schoolboy in 1966, would want him in an organised environment, similar to his brother William's time working on environmental and community projects in Chile on his gap year.

    "There are a number of gap year placements in Aboriginal communities now," said Tom Griffiths, founder of gapyear.com, Britain's foremost adviser on the post-school sabbatical.

    "Some are working with doctors in Aboriginal communities, others are in conservation projects, working on farms and in communities in the bush.

    "They'd be perfect for Harry."

    A series of photos of Harry's life at Eton published this week included a shot of the prince with two of his Aboriginal-style paintings of lizards.

    The paintings have been valued at STG15,000 ($A38,000) and Britain's leading expert on Aboriginal art was stunned by their quality.

    "I'd offer him a show, I'm really, really impressed," said Australian Rebecca Hossack, who imports and exhibits Aboriginal art at her central London gallery.

    "I had no idea he was so accomplished. If he carries on developing as quickly as he already has, he's a real artist.

    "It'd be wonderful if he could work as an art coordinator at an Aboriginal community. He'd be fantastic and it would be wonderful for him to go out and see these lizards live and eat them.

    "It's brilliant he's taken an interest in something so spiritual and it'd be great for him to go from wanting to know a bit about the art to getting to know about the people."


 
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