I served as Founding President of the Nillumbik Reconciliation Group between 1997 and 2005. During this time we have worked in close association with the Nillumbik Shire which has generously funded the many projects we had initiated.
One of our first projects was to reach out to the Shire’s school children who appeared not to be connecting to the region’s Aboriginal story. For this, we had approached each of the Shire’s 30 primary schools with an offer to organise a Short Story Award for their Grades 4 and 5 students. Wishing to keep it as informal as possible, we simply asked participants to write a Short Story about the Aboriginal children who may once have lived in the bush around their home or school.
This competition worked remarkably well for a number of years with prizes of ornate boomerangs awarded to the authors of the most creative stories. Girls had featured best in the annual awards and this had seen us add a craft component for boy entrants.
Even with the craft component, boys appeared not to be connecting to what we had in mind. We approached the Shire for a four acre bush park upon which we laid out a resource trail which was named the Gawa Wurundjeri Resource Trail. Motivational signage was created and installed to encourage people of all ages to stroll along the trail and learn more about Wurundjeri culture and hunting skills.
For further information on the Gawa Trail, see http://nrg.org.au/index_files/gawa.html
Nillumbik Reconciliation Group
Community Group of the Year 2000
The Nillumbik Reconciliation Group was awarded ‘Nillumbik Community Group of the Year in 2000’ and is now in its 20th year.
During that time the group has maintained its busy agenda of bringing about a deeper understanding of the worth of Wurundjeri culture.