Aboriginal culture day at St Joseph’s Merriwa

At St Joseph’s Primary School, Merriwa, we are always looking for new opportunities to learn about Aboriginal culture. On Thursday 7 September, we had the privilege of welcoming Kamilaroi elder, Dolly Jerome and Uncle Blue to our school.

Students from Kindergarten to Year 2 were enthralled with Dolly’s stories and were interested to know that when dragonflies fly around you, it is the spirit of ancestor saying hello.

The students were excited to learn the traditional names of animals and insects where they had the opportunity to use glitter to make colourful posters of their favourite insect or animal.

Dolly shared with the children cultural traditions, such as the types of materials the Aboriginal people used for clothing. It was truly a wonderful afternoon of learning, sharing and laughter!

Dolly and Uncle Blue spent the afternoon working with students from Years 3 to 6. Uncle Blue spoke to students about traditional Aboriginal artefacts and weapons, describing in great detail how they were crafted. The time and effort that went into each item, and the versatility of each tool, amazed many students.

Year 6 student, Axul Hourn, really enjoyed the day because “[Dolly] showed us about her culture and what she does… I think it’s important to learn about other cultures”.

Dolly showed students some traditional Aboriginal craft that she had created herself, before allowing students to wear some traditional Aboriginal grass skirts.

Year 6 student, Madelaine Thrift, was interested to learn that “culture has changed a lot over time… traditionally these skirts were worn by both men and women”.

Students then had the opportunity to create their own grass skirts using raffia from Madagascan palm trees, which Year 6 student, Thomas Hunt described as, “very hands on” and Year 5 student, Darcy Taaffe enjoyed as the students “got involved a lot”.

All students were keen to share their new skills with family members and friends and went home with some amazing creations at the end of the day.

To find out more about St Joseph's, visit their website.

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