Discovering Indigenous Storytellers

Our Year 3 and 4 students had the privilege of participating in the Woylie Festival held at Fremantle Arts Centre. The festival showcases a number of inspiring artists from Woylie Project, a community led initiative to give Aboriginal storytellers a platform to create, share and publish stories.

They were fortunate to hear from and participate in activities with three storytellers with very different mediums of sharing their culture.

The students met Josie Boyle, a Wonghi woman who began her session recounting her childhood in the desert. She described the vastness of the land and the endless red dirt. Josie shared dreaming stories about how things came to be and tales written by herself, her family and friends. She used red sand to visually represent one story about how snakes and lizards got their colours. 

Next, the students were introduced to an artist named Kam. He had created a map the size of a large room which was divided into different Aboriginal countries, within the countries were smaller divisions. The students were the first to engage in this project which will be displayed and continue to be added to during the Fremantle Arts Festival. They each chose a section to draw something that had inspired them in their experience of Woylie. The children took care to strive for accuracy and precision as they created their artworks using colourful markers. 

In the final session, they participated in an interactive storytelling experience with Ron Bradfield Jnr. The students explored native animals, their history and local habitat within Western Australia.  

This immersive experience strengthened their understanding of both Whadjuk culture and other Aboriginal cultures in Western Australia. The students shared in the wonderment and joy in learning from both ancient and contemporary stories.

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“A school has the responsibility not only to engage their community in the pursuit of academic skills but to promote an attitude of life-long learning and thus keep the light alive in children’s eyes.”

Gillian McAuliffe

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