Tea Gardens Public School NAIDOC Week celebrations

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. As NAIDOC week fell in the July school holidays this year, Tea Gardens Public School celebrated NAIDOC on Wednesday the 29th of June.

This year’s NAIDOC theme was Songlines: The living narrative of our nation. Songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance and art by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They carry significant spiritual and cultural connection to knowledge, customs, ceremony and Lore of many Aboriginal nations and Torres Strait Islander language groups. With this in mind, we focussed on different ways that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have shared the stories of our nation.

We were fortunate enough to have both Bulahdelah Central School and Hunter River High School’s Aboriginal Culture groups perform for our students. Students from both performing schools represented their school and communities with pride, demonstrating outstanding leadership, especially when providing workshops to allow Tea Gardens students to participate in dance and song. Tea Gardens students enjoyed working with the fabulous role models from the two schools, forming relationships which will no doubt support their transition through to high school.

The three school groups combined and joined our community in celebrating a picnic lunch of Kangaroo burgers followed by finger lime patty cakes. We were delighted to have some of our beautiful Worimi Elders visit for the day and join us in our picnic and festivities. The three schools joined in activities led by the senior students, with all of the children enjoying the games and conversation over lunch before continuing with our rotational activities for the remainder of the day. David Willard, Director Public Schools NSW Great Lakes, also popped in for a surprise visit and noted the outstanding community involvement in Tea Gardens Public School’s NAIDOC celebrations.

Through learning more about Songlines and how they connect people to Country and the Country to people – we celebrated the rich history and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures – the oldest continuing cultures on the planet. Tea Gardens Public School students, staff and community, thoroughly enjoyed sharing in a contemporary style of dance, art and stories inspired by the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation for the involvement of both Bulahdelah Central School and Hunter River High School in making our day such a success.

Story contributed by Miriam Avery from Tea Gardens Public School. Published in 2016.