Today we had the aboriginal boys from Bro Speak with Tony Rudd join us for an excursion to the Brungle Aboriginal Environmental Education Centre. On entry to the school we were welcomed with a Wirajuri language sign on the front gate. GaDHang Burra Yal billinga – Happy Children Learn. To start our day we were greeted by Shane and Talea, the National parks and wildlife discovery rangers together the with two local elders and the school students in a Traditional Aboriginal Greeting. The Aunties, Aunty Sonia & Aunty Phyllis greeted us in English, then the Bungle school students greeted up in Wiradjuri language.
Shane and Talea took us around the school grounds and taught us how aboriginals lived within the landscape and what signs they looked out for and how to find food. We learnt about the difference from scar trees and carved trees and the significance of them.
- Scar tree – were used as bark was taken off then to make canoes, weapons and shields.
- Carved trees- symbolize a form of artistic and cultural expression to Displayed as grave posts and as part of initiation ceremonies.
As were went around the grounds Shane would explain each type of tree or resource and how aboriginals living within landscape would rely on these. Kurrajong trees were utilized for a number of things for example food, fiber for twine used fishing line and net, toys and. How the seeds were ground to help make the damper, the young roots & shoots were eaten like a potato. Shane explained why it was important what it meant if you saw young shoots growing away from a Kurrajong’s tree. – There was a mother tree nearby, good source of food and resources. Wattle trees were utilized and what for change of season, Food, toys, tools, spear tips, glue. Around the school grounds there were a number of Silver wattle trees.
Shane and Talea took us inside and taught us all about the significance of the Digeridoo and clapping sticks. Only men are allowed to play the Didgeridoo – Yidika. This was traditionally used for ceremonies for boys turning into men, Women could sing and dance and use clapping sticks whilst at ceremonies. The Boys got up and played the Didgeridoo and the girls played the clapping sticks.
We had a yarn around the camp fire with the two Auntie’s, which was also surrounded by aboriginal artifacts’. The aunts opened up about their struggles and barriers, Aunty Sonia mentioned how special it was to be able to have the opportunity to learn their native language as when she was at school they were told they were not allowed to speck in language and it was lost. Aunty Phyllis spoke about the term half cast and how it is a government term and how due to her fair skin she had to leave the mission and her family because she had threats of getting her children taken away, so had to move to Tumut. The Aunties explained how aboriginals lived amongst the landscape would make tools and resources to live, jewelry to trade for ceremonies. The aunties and they explained why they enjoyed sharing their stories and how important it was to continue on with their history, culture and traditions.
We finished up in the dreaming room with the Aunties with singing and dancing together around the camp fire. Students finished the day with some Boomerang painting. Unfortunately due to the weather, they didn’t get to throw them or have much look around the garden. We will plan another visit to have a look around the grounds more at the plants for the culture garden at the preschool.