All Saints’ College Wonnarua Immersion trip

All Saints’ College, St Peter’s Campus, Maitland recently introduced the Junior Aboriginal Educational Consultative Group as a way to improve Aboriginal Education within the college and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through active participation and involvement in school activities, decision making and leadership opportunities.

This is aimed at encouraging ‘school spirit’ and ensuring the school is a place that is inclusive of all cultures.

A group of students from the Junior Aboriginal Educational Consultative Group (JAECG) at St Peter’s Campus discovered more about Indigenous culture and history during their Wonnarua Immersion trip.

During December, the students were fortunate to participate in the college’s ‘Connecting to Country’ day excursion to Broke and Milbrodale.

The highlight of the trip was being able to spend time with two Wonnarua Elders, Aunty Pat and Uncle Warren. After being welcomed to Country by Aunty Pat, who grew up in the local area, time was spent talking and learning more about Indigenous perspectives, connection with the land and all beings that inhabit it.

This was followed with a session of Dadirri or traditional meditation and reflection to connect with Mother Earth.

After morning tea, the group heard the inspiring traditional story about how the great lizard came to rest at Lizard Rock and this gave students ideas for their bark painting with Aunty Pat.

From Broke, the group drove to Milbrodale to the Baiame Cave. Uncle Warren guided everyone through the cave and told the story of Baiame, the ‘Maker of all Good Things’. This cave and the nearby Mount Yengo are as significant to the people of Eastern Australia as Uluru is to the people of Central Australia.

The boys explored some nearby cave hideouts with Uncle Warren, while the girls had the privilege to spend time in a birthing cave with Aunty Pat.

After enjoying a barbecue lunch back at Broke, some students continued elaborating their bark paintings with Aunty Pat and others had fun getting active with some boomerang-throwing with Uncle Warren.

It was an amazing day of learning for all who were lucky enough to attend.

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