Indigenous Walk Print E-mail
Written by Corey, Snowy Student Term 3 2009   

After waking up to a cooked breakfast of bacon and eggs, I thought to myself today is going to very interesting and new to me.

I downed my bacon and egg sandwich, and looked at the duty roster and was so thankful to not be on wash-up, as the dish load would be massive. To the left of that glanced at the timetable, and saw that 2A had their Personal Progress Interviews (PPI’s) for Core 1 and the Indigenous Walk for Core 2.

At the end of the 9 o’clock head count, 2A had a 10 minute preparation for our PPI and we were really stressing at how it was going to go. After Carlie had her PPI, it was my turn, and I was thinking “Can I really babble on for 30 minutes?”

Well after the interview I said to myself “Yes I can”. But you say it wasn’t really babbling on at all; it was a genuine conversation. I found that it was really good, because it gave myself and my Liaison teacher a better understanding of how I was going, it really got us both thinking. The interview covered how I, the student, was going so far like coping living away from home, what teamwork skills I bring to the team and all that. The second part was about setting goals for the remaining 4 weeks of the program. When the PPI finished, we were to complete our passports for the rest of the session.

Corey with spearAt the start of the Indigenous Walk, we were introduced to two men of the Gunai/Kurnai people who are the traditional owners of this land that the Snowy River Campus is a part of. Their names were Rob and Will.

Firstly, Rob spoke to the group about the evolution of the Aboriginals in the sense of before and after the Europeans invaded. He explained how the boys and girls grew up and were separated from each other at puberty to learn to be a man or a woman and how they strived to be part of the land and not just on it. For example, in the bark shelters they lived under, when they caught fire or they were destroyed, they wouldn’t really mind because all of the land was their home, so they would just build somewhere else. He also explained about the Gunai/Kurnai people’s beliefs about spirits, which were different to the religions like Christianity.

The Gunai/Kurnai people believed in 3 spirits: the father spirit, who was a pelican which created the world they lived on. There was the Mother Nature spirit, who was the land itself. And the animal spirit, who without, there would be nothing at all. After explaining this, he brought out the Aboriginal flag which was more than just a pretty picture.

Previously when the Aboriginals had just started to gain their rights, they needed to get a flag which would represent the Indigenous people of Australia, so some Aboriginals came up with a flag which represents them in a very meaningful way. The top half of it, the black part, represents the people; the colour of their skin. The bottom half of it, the red part; represents the land they live on, and the blood which was spilt in fighting for their land. And the centre of it, the yellow circle, represents the sun; it represents life, because without the sun, there would be no life.

After speaking about the flag, he moved on to a story which was about a pelican. Basically the significance of the pelican is that in the story, the pelican (united with a musk dusk) created the world we live in. So the Gunai/Kurnai people very much value the pelican and that is why it is on their tribal totem.

Rob then handed the class over to Will, who talked about the weapons the Aboriginals use for hunting and fighting. A few I already knew, but there were some I didn’t know at all. Firstly, he introduced the boomerang and how they use one of them to scare the birds and another to kill them. He also talked about a woomera which is a spear thrower and a buhndi which was a club they used to kill the animals.

After talking inside and a demonstration on how to throw a spear, they took us onto the bus to the Yeerung Gorge. There, we made our way to the gorge, and along the way, there was some interesting stuff which happened. At the start of the trail we were introduced to a burnt tree and I saw Brendon being told about the charcoal on the tree. He took a piece and ate it; I followed. Apparently the charcoal is really good for filtering out your body. At first sight I thought it would taste yuck, but it literally had no flavor, so it was great!

We were also told about some blade grass and some of the ferns and other plants too. When we reached the gorge, it was very difficult to go down as it was very slippery and steep. The creek at the bottom was very pretty, and Rob thanked us for our time to teach us about the Indigenous Australians.

Along the way back Rob was talking to me about herbal medicines the Aboriginals used. Apparently if someone had a broken leg or arm, they consumed a square centimeter of ground hardwood dust to relieve the pain; he said it was better than your expensive panadols.

Overall, I had a great day and I’m sure everyone else did.

Corey, Werrimull P-12


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School For Student Leadership

School for Student Leadership is a Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) initiative offering a unique residential education experience for year nine students. The curriculum focuses on personal development and team learning projects sourced from students' home regions. There are four campuses in iconic locations across Victoria. The Alpine School Campus is located at Dinner Plain in the Victorian Alps. Snowy River Campus is near the mouth of the Snowy River at Marlo in east Gippsland. The third site is adjacent to Mount Noorat near Camperdown in Victoria’s Western District, and is called Gnurad-Gundidj. After consultation with the local aboriginal community, this name represents both the indigenous name of the local area and an interpretation of the statement "belonging to this place". Our fourth and newest campus, currently known as the Don Valley Campus is located at Don Valley, Yarra Ranges.
Our school community acknowledges the Gunaikurnai and Monero-Ngarigo people as the traditional custodians of the land upon which our school campus is built. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their Elders past and present, and especially whose children attend our school.