The tale of the Rainbow Serpent and more

The Aunty Sue project was inspired in 2018 by the NAIDOC Week theme 'Because of Her We Can' and this week stage one of the project was completed.

On Monday, at the school's annual NAIDOC Week assembly, a 42-page book, sculpture, garden and yarning place were revealed to parents, friends and representatives from the Department of Education.

In front of a full-house in the Multi-Purpose Centre, Walcha Central School principal Mark Hall said the day was one of celebration.

"Not only does it herald the introduction of a new NAIDOC Theme ( Voice. Treaty. Truth.) we also celebrate the completion of The Aunty Sue Project which commenced 12 months ago," he said.

"This was a project-based learning opportunity where students retold a story presented to us by Aunty Sue - a respected elder of this community.

"I want to personally thank Aunty Sue for her support of the school, Karen Bloomfield and Bina Armstrong for the leadership in bringing the project to life, Graham Barnes and all the members of our community who contributed to make this project a success, and most importantly I want to thank and congratulate our students for their hard work and dedication."

The head teacher of secondary studies, Mrs Bina Armstrong, told the gathering her Aboriginal education team was always looking for ways to improve the opportunities for students to develop knowledge, understanding and respect for the history and culture of indigenous Australians.

"We share a belief that for all people to know where they are going, they need to know where they have come from," Mrs Armstrong said.

"As a non- Indigenous person, I have been excited at the opportunity to walk this journey with students and staff to share in the learning.

for all people to know where they are going, they need to know where they have come from

Bina Armstrong

"It is the belief that this learning should not just be celebrated during NAIDOC week, but all year round. Hence the commitment to undertaking year-long projects was made and the development of the 'Aunty Sue's Project'."

This idea celebrates the stories and life of Walcha's respected Elder - Valma (Sue) Green.

"Aunty Sue has worked with the students and told stories of her life as a child attending Walcha Central School," Mrs Armstrong said.

"She shared her version of a story told to her as a child, the story of the Rainbow Serpent, on which the picture book is based."

The picture book 'Aunty Sue's Story of the Dhulawang Girrin' contains more than 20 illustrations created by the students. An initial print run of 500 has been confirmed, and every pupil in the school will receive a copy. The 42-page full-colour book will also be for sale at Walcha Central School, and a copy will be kept in the National Library of Australia.

"Students were invited to select from a range of mediums including art, a picture book, dance, sculpture and the gardens, to recreate their vision of the story Aunty Sue shared," Mrs Armstrong said.

"A project like this requires commitment from staff and students. Each week the teams met to bring their visions to life."

Walcha Presbyterian minister Graham Barnes worked with both men from the local community and students to create the sculpture and gardens at the yarning place.

"I would like to publicly express my great pride in the students involved," he said.

"To each of those students, thank you for your hard work and commitment, you should be really proud of what you have achieved. I hope that through being involved in this project, you have grown in your understanding of culture and respect of others.

"To the boys in year nine who led the project - thank you for your vision. In years to come, the outdoor sculpture area will be a permanent reminder of your efforts. I have come to respect each of you and the enthusiasm that you have shown.

"The sculpture represents the indigenous symbol for meeting place. I hope that as you take this in, you are proud of what these students have been able to not only build but also achieve."

Aunty Sue said she was elated and stuck for words after seeing what had been created.

"I'm just so proud of what the students and teachers have been able to do," she said.

"It has been a gigantic project which was 12 months in the making, and now it's on to stage two."

Walcha Central School Aboriginal education officer Karen Bloomfield then ended the assembly addressing the 2020 theme of: 'Voice. Treaty. Truth.'

"Treaties are inseparable from truth," she said.

The true story of colonisation must be told

Karen Bloomfield

"Lasting and effective agreement cannot be achieved unless we have a shared, truthful understanding of our history, of how we got to where we stand.

"The true story of colonisation must be told- must be heard- must be acknowledged- before we can come to true reconciliation and genuine healing for both sides.

"This is not just the history of our First Peoples.

"It is the history of all of us. Of all of Australia.

"And 'we' need to share it and to own it."

Aunty Sue Participation Award recipients:

Telisha Beale, Gary Bloomfield, Kyanna Bloomfield, Riley Bloomfield, Shanae Bloomfield, Tyla Bloomfield, Tyran Bloomfield, Harmony Coulter, Chloe Cox, Dallas Foster, Chaney Haslem, Jazz Hayton, Ash-Lee Hollis, Makenzie Jarman, Jasmine Lynch, Josisca Matapakia, Hannah Marsland Howard, Jaxon Marsters, Teraia Marsters, Kaleb Moisy,, Shaun McKenna, Sarah O'Neill, Amelia Parish, Tyler Parish, Eva Patterson Green, Elizabeth Pendlebury, Jason Pendlebury, Troy Pendlebury, Maylen Schmutter-Morris, Tennessee-Rose Shaw, Timika Thornbury, Timinka Stackman, Charlie Steep, Peter- Cass Warneminde-Green, Breanna West, Connor Keyes

Walcha Central School NAIDOC special award recipients for 2019.

NAIDOC Principal award- Maylen Schmutter-Morris and Phoenix Warneminde-Green

NAIDOC students of the year -Bree West, Shaun Mckenna, Jazz Hayton,, Eva Patterson-Green, Elizabeth Pendlebury, Telisha Beale

NAIDOC Sports person of the year: Teraia Marsters

NAIDOC Community Awards : Aunty Sue Green / Graham Barnes

NAIDOC Staff Award: Bina Armstrong