Posted 04 Jun 2020 in
This article was written by our Early Childhood Team Leader and Pre-Kindy Teacher, Gabbi Lovelady. It is a wonderful reflection and shows our school’s deep connection with Noongar culture and nature. We hope you enjoy reading Gabbi’s reflection and the tale of Koolbardi wer Waardong (Magpie and Crow) as much as we did.
At Bold Park, our aim is to live our reconciliation action plan, not to just visit it during Reconciliation Week. I am inspired by the desire to keep Noongar language alive, so in Pre-Kindy we incorporate a few Noongar words into our daily life. A big focus for us this year has been to notice the birds we share our beautiful site with, and as we identify them and learn more about them, we call them by their Noongar names. We are making great connections with our feathered friends, the first being the willy wagtail, which is how we got our class name, Djidi Djidi Friends!
I love the music of Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, and their wonderful songs in language often play in the background in our classroom. We are also learning some as you know.
Gina explains that there are currently less than four hundred and fifty Noongar speakers and her dream is to keep the language alive through song. She said in an interview, “It’s not enough for just my community, the Noongar community to be singing in language. For our language to really succeed and be safe, we need everybody to do this.” I took this as our invitation to get involved.
At a recent concert during the Festival of Perth, Gina said to the audience that if each person could learn five new Noongar words, it would help greatly with the preservation of the language. Her slogan was “Hashtag 5!” Between our bird names and the songs we sing, I think the Djidi Djidi Friends know a lot more than five words already!
The Djidi Djidi’s have introduced an indigenous story to their storytelling table. It is a cautionary tale about the magpie (koolbardi) and the crow (waardong).
Koolbardi wer Waardong
These birds were both pure white in the beginning and called themselves brothers. Emu (weijt) with his dull grey feathers was jealous and set the brothers against each other by telling each one that they had the whiter feathers.
The jealousy that ensued, caused Koolbardi and Waardong to fight and they fell into the campfire. Waardong was underneath as they fell, was burnt by the ashes so he became black all over. Koolbardi became black and white. The birds have been rivals ever since.