Good food, good talk

For thousands of years, Indigenous people have taken part in yarning circles and for the St Mary’s Primary School, Warners Bay community, it was a tradition they wanted to incorporate in their bush tucker garden.

Throughout the year, students from St Mary’s have been engaged in lessons covering Aboriginal history and culture and even the use of native plants.

With knowledge of the school ground enhancements, students wanted to take their Aboriginal lessons one step further by reflecting it in their school.

In bringing the idea to life, the school community received support to build a bush tucker garden from Woolworths and Landcare who in partnership offered primary schools and early learning centres across Australia grants to support green projects.

The program empowers students with hands-on projects and important environmental knowledge.

Katie Moyle, the school’s Primary Coordinator, along with Year 6 environmental leaders, put their design caps on to collectively create and construct a bush tucker garden and yarning circle to be home to the garden.

Throughout Aboriginal history, yarning circles have been spaces where information and stories can be shared and conflicts resolved.

A space that Louise Campbell, CSO Aboriginal Education Officer, says encourages everyone to have their say, as Aboriginal people believe circles have a sense of strength.

“I encourage other schools to create similar spaces of their own,” Ms Campbell said.

“It is a great idea but we must make sure the correct protocols are in place and done the right way in consultation with elders or other indigenous community members.”

St Mary’s has about six Aboriginal students.

Mrs Moyle said the students had enjoyed taking part in the project. 

"The students did all the work themselves apart from some challenging aspects. We had a landscaper come in and do that," she said.

Year 6 students gifted the fire pit located at the centre of the yarning circle.

The bush tucker garden and yarning circle is a wonderful full community project. Parents, grandparents, school staff and students were all involved on Wednesday 13 November to officially open and bless the new school space, created to be accessible to all.

“We hope to build on this space further throughout the coming years,” said school Principal Liz Starling.

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Brittany Gonzalez Image
Brittany Gonzalez

Brittany Gonzalez is a Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.