Teaching on Country : Yuin Elder Uncle Paul Photograph by Kaleesha Morris Celebrating our students, alumni, staff and programs across all our communities 1
Teaching on Country: ATSI3003 class visits the Yuin Nation by Kaleesha Morris.
Gilgandra, Thank you for having us: Walama Muru by Anthony Ryan O’Rourke
More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers’ Incentive Forum by Peter Hulbert
COFA Celebrates Diversity by Teena McCarthy
Inaugural Partnerships for Change Workshop: Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit
Tony Birch UNSWriting by Rebecca Harcourt
National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games 2013
Aspire Visits Walgett by Samantha Skinner
Nura Gili Staff Profile –Farhana Laffernis
Nura Gili on the Road
Nura Gili About Us
Nura Gili News www.nuragili.unsw.edu.au/nura-gili-news If you would like to contribute ideas, news, letters and / or articles please contact the editor: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 0478492075 If you would like to contribute to Indigenous scholarships for students at UNSW and/or Nura Gili Indigenous Programs please feel free to make initial contact with the Director of Nura Gili Professor Martin Nakata (B.EdHons PhD) Telephone :+61 (2) 93853120 Email: Prof.email@example.com - Prof Nakata's Webpage If you would like further information on Nura Gili’s programs, courses and facilities you are welcome to come and visit and / or contact us: Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit Electrical Engineering Building G17 UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES SYDNEY NSW 2052 AUSTRALIA
Telephone: 02 93853805 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: nuragili.unsw.edu.au
UNSW CRICOS Provider Code: 00098G | ABN: 57 195 873 179 Balnaves Place – Home of Nura Gili was made possible thanks to a generous donation from The Balnaves Foundation, a private philanthropic organisation established in 2006 by Neil Balnaves AO to provide support to charitable enterprises across Australia.
Global financial services firm UBS has committed to a major investment in support of Indigenous programs at UNSW
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As seen on our cover with Yuin Elder Uncle Paulâ€™s teaching, this issue of Nura Gili shares a window on many of the enriching programs and research Nura Gili and UNSW faculties - students and staff are involved with, set deep in the heart of learning amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities both on and off campus. So many of these articles embrace and highlight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their communitiesâ€™ fortitude, generosity and legacies across many nations, embracing and transforming the lives for current and future generations. This first week of November celebrates the Graduations of many of our UNSW Indigenous students in a number of fields- Public Health, Law, Commerce, Mining Engineering, Fine Arts, Social Research and Policy the Arts, Business, Engineering and International Studies. As our graduating students don their gowns and walk up the stairs to receive their well-earned and deserved graduation certificates many of their friends, family Nura Gili and UNSW faculty staff will be watching on with pride.
Our heartfelt congratulations to all our Indigenous students graduating this week:
Merinda Dutton BJuris, LLB
Claire Bridges BFA
Sheila Hure MPH;
Haylee Davis BInSt
Dea Thiele MPH;
Karen Fernando BFA
Elaine Lomas GradCertPH;
Sarah Hyland BCom
Sethy Willie GradCertPH
Codie Martin Bcom
Jennifer King GradCertPH
Belinda Jordan BA
Benjamin Roberts BSc
Justin Lockley BSRP
Brad Welsh MMinEng
Kim Hill MArt
Glen Miles GradCertBus
Rebecca Harcourt, Editor
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By Kaleesha Morris.
photograph by Jan Stassen
On the 20th of September the ATSI3003 â€˜Cultural Heritage Managementâ€™ class journeyed down to the Booderee National Park (located within Yuin Territory) for a three day fieldtrip. From the beginning of the uni semester our teacher Dr Reuben Bolt insisted that the experiences from the fieldtrip would be integral to attaining the learning outcomes of the course. This much is true, but I also believe that students got a lot more out of the trip than what they would have predicted prior. ATSI3003 offers students an opportunity to explore cultural heritage management from an Indigenous perspective. Learning from Indigenous teachers about Indigenous issues, whether it be in the formal classroom on campus, or barefoot on Country at a grassroots level, is a very special privilege; not only because historically, Indigenous peoples and their stories have either been left out of, or erroneously presented within mainstream Australian narratives, but also because Indigenous knowledge and culture really belongs to Indigenous peoples and communities. It is their inherent right to teach their cultural wisdom to others using methods that have been employed for many tens of thousands of years and passed on through the generations. Prior to the trip students learnt a basic understanding of the ways in which Indigenous people engage with, and interact within the environment today. Students were also exposed to the various strategies and applications Indigenous communities use for cultural heritage management practice. This allows Celebrating our students, alumni, staff and programs across all our communities 4
them to protect their inherent lands, resources, cultural identities, communities and most importantly, the future of their peoples. This objective is being achieved through the establishment of a jointmanagement partnership arrangement at Booderee National Park which consists of the local Aboriginal community of Wreck Bay and various other non-Indigenous board members, including the Director of National Parks. Our generous hosts and teachers on Yuin Country were Uncle Paul McLeod and Joe Brown-McLeod. Both men are incredibly knowledgeable and strong in culture; a testament to the Yuin perpetual occupation of their lands, their resilience against non-Indigenous occupation and take-over, and their determination to protect their environments within the contemporary colonising structures that exist today. ATSI3003 students were diverse in terms of backgrounds, discipline of study, culture and nationality. From the very beginning and throughout the trip, an open space was created and maintained for students to ask questions. The structure of the trip was relatively relaxed. This gave students time to better absorb where they were which allowed them to reflect on what they were learning. We were taught cultural protocols to adhere to when on Country and each night, we all yarned and shared stories by the campfire. We visited the Booderee Botanic Gardens which are Australiaâ€™s only Aboriginal owned Botanic Gardens. We were able to learn about why the joint-management arrangement was created and how it currently works.
Photograph by Kaleesha Morris
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We met with and learnt from Bernie McLeod (an Indigenous staff member), who taught us about his specific role in the park. He illustrated various programs under the joint-management arrangement which have produced positive outcomes for the Park and the local Indigenous community. For example, we learnt about the special use of Indigenous knowledge in helping to conserve various plant and animal species. We also learnt about the protection of specific sites, and also of the recruitment of Indigenous youth into employment and mentoring programs within the Park. Another special and insightful visit we made was to an enormous ancient shell midden site. Learning the theory of these fascinating sites in the classroom is one thing, but to physically sit amongst one is another. To be able to sit on country in the same way as the old people who nourished themselves, thousands of years ago, carefully selecting abundant resources to ensure sustainability, resonated deep within me, reaffirming the fact that Indigenous peoples have successfully managed their lands and resources for tens of thousands of years. Enabling people from all walks of life to connect metaphysically with place and the past (as we experienced visiting such a site) is important in creating and honouring the value that Indigenous environmental knowledge merits. Not only that, the experience has helped me understand and connect to the present and the future, through a meeting and learning experience with Aboriginal people on country today. We also visited other sites and partook in cultural ceremonies. We danced with the deadly Doonooch Dancers and sat atop a special cliff top giving respect and gratitude to the connections we had made to our hosts, to each other and most importantly, to Yuin Country. As I initially stated, I believe the students got a lot more out of this fieldtrip than what they could have imagined. Toward the end of the trip the class sat around the remnants of a campfire, sharing what we had learnt on the trip. Every student response was meaningful and empowering. I believe that the overarching theme of the lessons that Uncle Paul and Joe taught us was â€˜Respectâ€™. We must accord respect to the sheer expertise of Indigenous peoples and communities in taking care of Country and, if we truly want safe, healthy and sustainable Australian environments for ourselves and for our future generations, we must apply and integrate that same respect for Indigenous peoples in cultural heritage management practices within Australia.
Kaleesha is a woman of the Gumbaynggirr Nation from the Clarence Valley on the North Coast of New South Wales. She is currently studying an Arts/Law degree and works as the Aboriginal Access Worker at Kingsford Legal Centre.
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by Anthony Ryan O’Rourke, Walama Muru Volunteer 2013 A week of hard work, cultural education and scares from snakes and boomerangs has made the 2013 Walama Muru trip to Gilgandra one to remember. Think back to Saturday the 28th of September and imagine a bus-full of bright-eyed university students, having proudly donned their t-shirts with “Walama Muru” emblazoned on the front and “Arc volunteer” on the back, wiping sleep from their eyes and speeding across the countryside. That was us. We’d left Sydney and the Eora nation behind and ahead was the Dharug nation and, then, the Wiradjuri nation. There wherein lay our goal: Gilgandra. Wiradjuri for “long waterhole” and known for its windmills and famous Cooee march, Gilgandra was the town we had been lucky enough to be welcomed to for our annual Walama Muru trip. Walama Muru, in the language of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, means “return to path” and is the name given to the Arc volunteering trip by a group of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students from the University of New South Wales. The trip is in the spirit of community development, cultural education and reconciliation and could not be run without Mick Peachey and Cheryl Ah-See from Nura Gili at UNSW who organised with their family friends, the Nadens, for us to visit Gilgandra. Led by our student leaders Michael Otto and Adam Coles, we had a huge list of tasks to complete in only five days but, with hard work and dedication, were confident we could get them completed.
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Back to the bus and our first stop: Dubbo. There we were welcomed to Wiradjuri country by local Lewis Burns and listened, all ears, as he told us about Wiradjuri culture, weapons, clans and languages before sharing musical stories with his amazing didgeridoo playing. Eager to get involved, we all grabbed one of the boomerangs he had made and decorated as he demonstrated how to throw one. Traditionally, boomerangs are used to hunt flocks of birds but we found they were equally as good at making a bunch of university students duck and weave in fear, as boomerangs will return with a vengeance if not thrown correctly. Despite a couple of near-misses, we carried on unscathed to Gilgandra and our five days of work, under the guidance of former first grade footy player turned handyman Mick Peachey, began. Our first task: sanding. Sandpaper was distributed quickly and, next thing, the walls and grandstands of Gilgandra Basketball Association’s indoor court were being attacked by a flurry of activity. The scrape of sandpaper echoed around the gym and a fine dust began to fill the air, particularly around the grandstands which managed to turn half of us blue as we became covered in paint-dust. Once the place had been put to the paper and the dust cleaned up, the painting could begin. Under the watchful eyes of Kimm Naden and Julie Nolan we took to the boards, doors, seats, windows and walls and painted the place grey and white. Nothing was left untouched, even right up to the roof was reached thanks to some scaffolding and dare-devil painting from volunteers Sophie Edwards and Quinton Vea Vea. With a second coat we made the white shine and the grey turn blue, and found perfectionist students could be painters too.
Amongst all of this painting was also building as, lead by future aerospace engineer Keat Tang, volunteers worked hard sanding, measuring, cutting, screwing and lifting. Their hard work made wooden frames, boards and coats of paint all come together and result in two beautiful new grandstand seats for the basketball court. Keat’s skills were also utilised by leader Michael Otto at Barnardo’s Childcare Centre where a contingent of volunteers worked on building a brilliant new sandpit. Otto orchestrated a symphony of pickaxes and shovels to chew through and dig up the ground before wooden beams were measured, cut and levelled and posts were planted and cemented. Covering and securing the bottom was followed by screwing the final beams around the edges and filling the pit with a whopping two tonnes of anti-bacterial sand. To top it all off, Arc@UNSW Student Development Celebrating our students, alumni, staff and programs across all our communities 8
Coordinator Jeeves Verma showed his skill and painted the pit using the Walama Muru design, just like the sign he painted back at the basketball court as a symbol of our gratitude for being welcomed to Gilgandra. Our work almost done, we all eagerly set off to Balladoran – Wiradjuri for “platypus” – and arrived at the Balladoran Aboriginal Culture Camp created by Wiradjuri elders Ralph Naden and his late wife, Audrey Naden. After laying two cement slabs for future cabins we were gifted with a tour from Ralph of his camp and museum. It was an honour to be taught so much about Wiradjuri culture and we showed utmost yindyamarra – respect – for what was being shared with us. We learnt about traditional tree carvings, paintings and hunting methods, as well as ceremonies and the existence of cultural knowledge only allowed to be shared with particular people, such as men’s business and women’s business. We also learnt of the devastating destruction of culture and that recently, within living memory in fact, laws existed to subject Aboriginal people to apartheid conditions and prevent the passing on of cultural knowledge or speaking of the Wiradjuri language. The focus of Ralph’s tour was nothing to do with mistakes of the past though and he kept it light-hearted, even when finding a couple of snakes in unexpected places, to teach us yindyamarra for Aboriginal culture today. After the tour we saw Ralph play the didgeridoo while his grandchildren performed traditional dances, then sat in absolute awe as two Wiradjuri sisters, Lynette Riley and Diane Riley-McNaboe, shared their culture with us. Diane sang a wonderful welcome, showed us different Wiradjuri weapons – including the biggest boomerang we had ever seen – and displayed beautiful belts and headdresses she had made from the feathers of many different Australian birds. Lynette then lay out her absolutely amazing kangaroo skins which she had burnt traditional and contemporary artworks in to. This is a Wiradjuri tradition and the designs were superbly intricate. Finally, we were delighted to see what looked like a soccer ball made from possum skin and then, stunningly, a blanket made and decorated by both Lynette and Diane comprising of over fifty possum skins, stitched perfectly together, and covered with images of every creature between the water, earth and sky. Sadly, our trip eventually had to come to an end. On Friday the 4th of October we, a train-full of brighteyed university students, sped down from Dubbo, Wiradjuri country, to the Eora nation. We were laughing and reminiscing all the way, proud of the work we had accomplished, grateful for the experiences we had had and thankful for the things we had learnt. Gilgandra, thank you for having us. Anthony Ryan O’Rourke Walama Muru Volunteer 2013
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I personally loved every second of the Walama Trip! We had 5 hard days of intensive work on repainting the Basketball court, building new bleachers for the stadium, building a 4x4 (massive!) sandpit for the kids in the Gil preschool centre and laying some concrete slabs for accommodation at the Culture Centre. Every time we finished a wall or a bleacher, we knew these new contributions would be put to great use within the community. For the group, we had an amazing memorable time getting to know each other (almost too well at times, considering our team leaders Adam, Jeeves and Michael gave us unusual questions to ask our team partners each day, some of which went along the lines of "Are you a scruncher or a folder?" or "If you could replace your arm with anything, what would it be?"). Rhyan Clapham Quinton Vea Vea and Yale MacGillivray
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More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers’ Incentive Forum By Peter Hulbert.
I am a Wiradjuri man born and raised in Fairfield in Sydney’s South West. I am currently in my first year of permanent full time teaching at Heathcote High School in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire as an English teacher. My main inspiration for wanting to teach is seeing kids achieve more than they thought possible and when they finally get their heads around what I’m trying to teach them is a better feeling than just about anything else I’ve encountered. The School of Education at UNSW sponsored me to go to the MATSITI Forum in Adelaide this year and I thank them greatly for it, it was a great experience and one I would not have gotten otherwise. Peter graduated from UNSW in 2012. Over October 14th and 15th this year the University of South Australia was host to the second MATSITI Forum. The aim of the MATSITI Forum is to find ways to increase the number of Indigenous teachers in Australian schools. The aim is to get 16,000 Indigenous teachers by 2020. Currently New South Wales leads the charge with upwards of 900 Indigenous teachers (but not quite 1,000). The 38 universities across Australia would need to be graduating 200 Indigenous teachers each year to reach the goal of 16,000 teachers by 2020 The representatives from Tagai State College on Thursday Island interviewed their 2012 cohort of Year 12 students about the areas of employment they went into. A quarter of their cohort went into the defence force, with the next largest being child care at 14% of that cohort. From that cohort of Year 12s, only 2% went into education. When they asked the percentage of the cohort why they chose to go into the defence force or childcare and not education, the main responses were that the institutions for those occupations allowed a group of those students to relocate to the one area and made their transport and means of education much easier for the students through accommodation support and by getting a group of students from one area to live, work and study together. The teachers at the Tagai State College are implementing identifying and planning strategies to make education more appealing to those students. When a child at any age in their school/s shows Celebrating our students, alumni, staff and programs across all our communities 11
leadership potential, they are put on to a plan to keep them at school and to give them a clearer insight into education and ultimately make it more appealing, with the end goal of having those students go into education and become either teachers or workers within the education system. Although this is realistically only being done at one school in the Torres Strait, with the National Curriculum being implemented from next year, it is going to be much easier to share resources with schools from other states and implement strategies and programs interstate. While identifying students from primary school to become teachers and organising plans for them to stay on course sounds good, it can also be seen as railroading students into a department of occupation which they may not necessarily enjoy or prove fit to be able to do. As well as possibly railroading students, it also has the possibility to detract from identity centred learning, which was a key message in one of the presentations over the two days of the MATSITI Forum. Identity centred learning is essentially an extension of student centred learning, but with an emphasis on building studentsâ€™ self-awareness and self-esteem. At present the two main philosophies of teaching are teacher centred and student centred learning, with teacher centred being the person standing at the front of the classroom delivering a lesson and student centred being the students finding information and discovering things for themselves. Identity centred learning is manipulating the curriculum (if you will) to marry learning and meeting the outcomes of the syllabus with building students up emotionally and empowering students through discovery of their own identities. This can have a particularly large impact on Indigenous students who may be living and studying off country and who may not know a lot about their Indigenous heritage. In regards to gaining more Indigenous peoples in education, the theory behind identity centred learning is that by empowering Indigenous students by knowing themselves, it will spark intrinsic motivation to further their studies and go on to share their own experiences through education. The role of the MATSITI Forum was to come up with ways to raise the number of Indigenous peoples working in education across the country. The main ideas that came from it were identifying students early on in their education life cycle and implementing plans for them, identity centred learning to empower students and spark intrinsic motivation, as well as things like offering monetary support (e.g. abstudy and scholarships) and using similar strategies to what the defence force and childcare industries are doing. Teaching, in essence, is a people based and centred profession. On any given day a teachers can interact with upwards of 300 people, which is 300 opportunities to impact lives. For Indigenous peoples, that is 300 opportunities to educate people (both student and staff) about Indigenous peoples and Indigenous cultures in a positive way. At the end of the day, that is why we need more Indigenous peoples as teachers and through the use of forums such as the MATSITI Forum, we are a step closer to achieving that goal. In November Nura Gili and the School of Education, UNSW will be running our first UNSW Indigenous Pre Program in Education for Indigenous student interested in studying Education.
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By Teena McCarthy
The SRC @ Arc created a special day of Cultural diversity and celebration on Monday 21st October 2013. The COFA- College of Fine Arts Indigenous officer for the SRC, artist Teena McCarthy organised for a Welcome to Country and a smoking ceremony to open the event in the new courtyard at COFA. Aunty Ali Golding an inaugural Elder in Residence with the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW performed the ceremony. As smoke filled the air from the bush fires across Sydney, the sense of healing was evident as this no ordinary smoke as it was sacred bush medicine's smoke from Aunty Ali Golding from the Biripi Nation and National NAIDOC Elder of the year 2010. Everyone from COFAâ€™s Dean Professor Ross Harley, head of the School of Art Sylvia Ross and students young and old came together to be part of this important ceremony. Students hung out of the windows in fascination and wonderment at the proceedings; you could hear a pin drop. After the ceremony, followed by a cuppa tea and scones Aunty Ali was embraced by the people as they queued to meet her to express their thanks. The Italians running the cafe cart said they felt better for the smoking too. The need for such an event has been a long term vision for Teena McCarthy and she felt a sense of pride to be invited to assist Aunty Ali by lighting the fire. This was followed by students giving a beautiful multicultural lunch in a selection of foods from around the world, music and dancing. A very happy day was had by all, and an invitation by COFAâ€™s Dean for Aunty Ali Golding to return again in the future. Thanks to Nura Gili,meaning place of fire, the healing had begun as it also rained the following day. Celebrating our students, alumni, staff and programs across all our communities 13
Above: Teena McCarthy lights the fire Below: Aunty Ali Golding, Teena McCarthy and Kim Hill.
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Capturing the great stuff in programs that promote healing, empowerment, health and social and emotional wellbeing
Muru Marri | School of Public Health and Community Medicine | UNSW Medicine
This an excerpt of a record by Dr Brenda Elias and Professor Michelle Chino The inaugural Partnerships for Change Workshop was held on 10 October 2013 at UNSW to bring together staff, participants, researchers and policy makers from social and emotional wellbeing and mental health, academic education, resiliency, family, partnership, school and hospital outreach programs as well as government to discuss what makes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing programs successful within the context of the tough challenges that children and youth face. ________________________________________________________________________________ Reflection on the day By Professor Michelle Chino As an American Indian, I am always interested in how other countries address problems that challenge Indigenous populations. On the 10th of October I learned that it doesn't matter where we are – people who are passionate about their work find a way. What made this day special was the way people came together and the unifying process of dialog and sharing that resulted. A creative opening session transformed an ordinary meeting room into a setting where comfort and creativity were continually supported and provided a framework for common ground for understanding and communication. As the groups began to work the energy in the room was palpable. The high level of comfort talking across disciplines, facilitated by the opening session, helped everyone, as one participant noted “get past our own issues to help others.” All agreed the Inaugural Partnerships for Change Workshop Capturing the great stuff in programs that promote healing, empowerment, health and social and emotional wellbeing issues are important but they need to be viewed from different perspectives to fully understand the scope of the problem and address diverse experiences.
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To do better we need to listen, reflect, unpack, communicate, engage, build on strengths, commitment, let youth lead in a safe way, and work to eliminate barriers and build a more supportive structure for progress. The people I met were dedicated, passionate, skilled, resourceful, and knowledgeable. They have to be. They work with youth who are in crisis and youth who are in pain. They work to help young people, alienated from their families and society, reconnect to their culture. How do you create a safe place for troubled youth to heal, to grow, to think, and to learn to express themselves in positive ways? I heard over and over the importance of social connections across a continuum of experiences and opportunities for cultural integration. Mentoring, partnerships, creativity, and celebration were seen as essential to building relationships and self-esteem. These programs succeed in extraordinary ways with limited time and limited resources. Despite funding issues, political issues, competing agendas, and the enormity of the task these dedicated people “carry on anyway”.
L-R Dr. Brenda Elias, Professor Michelle Chino, Professor Lisa Jackson –Pulver, Director of Muru Marri
At the end of the day I was reminded of something U.S. President Barack Obama said; “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
To learn more about Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit at the University of NSW, including their recent research findings – reported in the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Indigenous Youth Paper that shares the elements that led to the success of programs that seek to promote the social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous young people See: http://www.sphcm.med.unsw.edu.au/centres-units/muru-marri
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by Rebecca Harcourt
Tony is the author of three works of fiction - Blood (2011) - shortlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin Award, Father's Day (2009), and Shadowboxing (2006).He was born in inner-city Melbourne, into a large family of Aboriginal, West Indian and Irish descent. On 8th and 9th of October 2013, UNSWriting and the Creative Practice Lab in the School of Arts and Media, UNSW hosted two events with acclaimed writer Tony Birch. Here is my own response, learning and experiences of these events intertwined with reading his novel ‘Blood’. Any mistakes or misinterpretations of Tony’s writing and practice are my own.
Compelling, gritty and intrigue. Listening to author Tony Birch is inspiring. No airs about him, his voice is compelling as the narratives in his short stories and novels. He takes you there with his attention to detail, the nuances of his characters so alive they jump out at you from the page, together with the day to day realities of the landscapes they inhabit. You are there with his characters, witnessing their actions, each moment in time, the tension, nitty gritty realities which are constructed to immerse you in the presence of their lives. Tony makes the grease, sweat and fat fall off the page, imbuing the reader with enactment as in his novel ‘Blood, where you can feel the potency of the soft toy, with ears sewn on again lovingly as Rachel rescues it yet again; you can feel the crackling of the car as its reduces to travelling 30km an hour on the freeway ‘til it stalls and disintegrates. Echoing the human banishment you feel for both the kids and their mother as they leap and escape; continue to get entangled in a world riddled with horrific ordeals whilst they draw on their own resilience, grasping at whatever actions are needed to survive. However repellent and fearful we may be for their lives, we admire their strengths knowing others who would have unravelled at a hundredth of their trials. Transporting the reader with the sounds, smells and sights, adds to the tension, built from the contrasts of the lapses in time - realities of unknowns, uncertainties, lacklustre moments where the reality of Jesse, our narrator’s life and his younger sister unfold, sucked from the sharp realities of their mother’s actions; rejections come fast with a certainty in knowledge of persistence she neither lets go of them in her life, Jesse, our narrator, her son, acknowledges he and his sister are a needed inconvenience at best. Photographic landscapes, we see a face of an angel in a graveyard, taken years before, depicts one of the initial stimuli for Tony Birch’s novel Blood. Shaped by his own experiences Tony Birch Celebrating our students, alumni, staff and programs across all our communities 17
navigates the world of his stories through the practice of exploration, stimulation of place with visual documentation, enactment of physical tasks and interaction, observations of spoken language and determined practice of daily hard work, revisions, writing in the early hours of the morning a space where he can breathe work into his writing, knowing well his daily patterns where he can thrive in his workplace as a writer. Redemption his word he reveals underpins his body of work. Starting from his ‘known’ he encourages us to identify our key, a word which places our writing – I’m compelled by the fluency of his flow the way he encapsulates with humour, humanity and the beat of his narrative the necessary stakes in his working premise(s). Like his characters- people, places and the world they inhabit at times restricted to confined space to reveal and responds to the shapes in which their circumstances are revealed as they pull and punch to shift on in their lives. Tony shares a number of his techniques with fluency, grace and states its task. Such as the lino of the action, confined to a boxing match as revealed in a play he wrote translated into the world of a later short story. He stays both with the known, familiarity of a moment, an object and action revisited to reveal something more. The soccer ball down the Yarra River, the way it escapes can be typified to yield a new strand, direction following its journey. Relinquishing the hero model, the Hollywood beat depicted in un-truisms. Far greater to observe the father who walks past the burning house, a child locked in, not his own, a stranger and find out what this father, who took himself home, did next. Uncovering the circumstances, thinking of an ordinary human being, whose reasons are fortified through recognisable human traits, actions and circumstance; feelings, habits, contexts we may ourselves wish to dismiss only to discover they are keepers within. We may fey the hero who did not flee and rescued the child releasing the need for us to engage with uncomfortable truths, going on a journey which transcends the familiar beats of the known constructs of the fairy-tale where the hero and child survives for all to celebrate with the twist and turns following apace. Many times we can misdirect our writing, taking a turn that fails to reveal the compaq we desire. We can’t trick practice, the test of time, dedication to refining our craft, following our rhythms and breaths with the songs of our place, time and worlds. Working hard, resisting the cheats of taking off, flagging the compunction to write even amongst the harder times where it’s easier to resist. A few hours a week, an hour each time, consistently week by week will quickly outwit the sporadic marathon writing sprees. Your voice or ‘theirs’- ‘she’ or ‘he’,’ indirect’,’ direct’: you find your own way, unpack what’s authentic to your voice and not lazy truths with which you equip your narrative to ebb and flow. Emotional responses, key to Tony’s work in his writing and class. Defining your dramatic objectives a practice to review and refine. Knowing the conventions you retain or flounce and understand why. Recognise and embrace your influences: film, story, objects, place, conversation, image, own experiences, observations, crime, political tracts, history, keepers of place, responses to lives, words, music, song, you own your choice. Practice your place, identify your way, strengthen your task. Stay open to learning- embrace its place with your craft of hard work diligence and space. Test the known, encourage the growth, expect the rejection and jubilations, consolidate your amour without denting the creative play to trace your own place. It was truly a privilege to have time to encounter Tony Birch, a writer who generously and openly gave of his time to share transparently his practice here at UNSW. Thank you. You can listen to a podcast of Tony Birch’s talk in Io Myers Studio at the UNSWriting webpage: https://sam.arts.unsw.edu.au/about-us/our-school/unswriting/ This piece was first published on School of Media and Arts, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW website on 18 Oct 2013
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This year the games were held in Penrith and Nura Gili, UNSW entered two teams to play in each of the four sports: basketball, netball, futsul and touch. Both teams were coached by our very own Mick Peachey, Nura Gili Student Services Manager.
From left: Dennis Golding, Aaron Collins, Dayne Syron, Grant Maling, Guy Dennis, Jonothan Captain-Webb, Glen Duncan, Leearna Williams, Monique Ah-See, Katherine Watson, Corey Kumar, Rhiannon Keith, Lucinda Stewart, Teeyanna Tapim-Savage, Rebekah Treacy, Jess Kitch
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Celebrating our students, alumni, staff and programs across all our communities 20
By Samantha Skinner, Team Leader - Community Engagement & Outreach Sustainability, ASPIRE
ASPIRE’s Rebekah Torrens with NRL’s George Rose
From August 5 – 9, the ASPIRE Community Engagement and Regional Outreach Teams travelled to Walgett and Coonamble for the annual Ricky Walford Shield Carnival. The visit provided the opportunity for ASPIRE to:
Engage Aboriginal students in conversations about higher education. Raise student awareness of university pathways to a career in sport. Build student confidence and increase student motivation. Strengthen connections between the Walgett community and the ASPIRE program at UNSW
The primary focus of the visit was the Ricky Walford Shield event, held annually in the town. The twenty-first Ricky Walford Shield took place in Walgett on Wednesday August 7th with teams competing from across North West New South Wales including Walgett, Bourke, Lightning Ridge and Wee Waa. The event, which runs in conjunction with the George Rose and Jenny Wright shields, is one of the largest in the region and also serves as a fundraiser for the local Junior Rugby League. According to Ricky Walford:
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“It's a great opportunity for the townships of the region to come together and celebrate the great game of Rugby League."
St George Illawarra Dragons players Gerard Beale and Kyle Stanley also attended the event with NSW Blues legend Paul Langmack, and Walford believed the opportunity to meet current and former players meant a great deal to the remote towns of the North West. "Most of these kids don't get the opportunity to attend many Rugby League games, so to be able to have their pictures taken and jerseys signed by their heroes is a memory that lasts a lifetime." The football carnival commences with a street parade through the town, where vehicles are decorated in team colours and fans march in the jerseys of their favourite clubs. UNSW ASPIRE saw the Ricky Walford Shield as an opportunity to engage with the Walgett community and its students, encouraging them to think about their sporting heroes and personal aspirations to achieve careers in professional sport. To this end, in class workshops were delivered to students in years 6, 7 and 8, exposing students to higher education pathways which lead to careers in sport, health and fitness related industries. Additionally, the workshops explored the biographies of local Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who have achieved degrees whilst engaging in professional sporting careers. Students also learned and practiced some skills associated with particular sport related careers such as strapping, personal training and coaching. As a complementary activity ASPIRE also took the opportunity to engage with the students in the Infants section of Walgett Community College. These students were not directly involved with the carnival activities and so, enjoyed a “circuit” of fun, outdoor sporting activities which were accessible to all under the guidance of ASPIRE staff. Designed to engage students in activities where they could all achieve success, each participant left with a “superstar” ribbon, for completing the full range of physical activities.
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To further strengthen links with the local community, ASPIRE also met with Auntie Mary Purse, of the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service, and former Aboriginal Education Consultative Group President. As a result of this discussion, the ASPIRE team were able to gain greater insight into the unique community context of Walgett and its particular issues related to retention, engagement and transition for students in the community. To further develop this community connection, contact has been established with the Dharriwaa Elders Group, who are pro-active in working with students, families and elders to heighten awareness about education and support students to consider further training beyond the compulsory years of schooling. On the return trip to Dubbo, the ASPIRE Team took the opportunity to spend an afternoon at the Coonamble Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation (MPREC) Youth Centre, where they shared a BBQ with young people from the community, their families and support staff and practiced some entertaining sporting skills. This visit served as a low, key and informal means of introducing ASPIRE to the wider Coonamble community, beyond the primary and secondary school boundaries. Further collaborations are tentatively planned for 2014. ASPIRE staff reported that the week was very enjoyable for all concerned and that the visit afforded an invaluable opportunity to further cement ASPIREâ€™s relationship with students, teachers and community representatives in Walgett. A fortnight following the Ricky Walford event, Regional ASPIRE staff returned to Walgett to deliver the programâ€™s core workshops and activities in the Primary and Secondary schools. Students remembered the names of ASPIRE staff whom they had met at the Ricky Walford event, and asked after those team members who had not returned for the second visit. The Principal of the Secondary School commented that the school valued ASPIRE very highly, particularly as the program had demonstrated a commitment to the community and school, by making multiple visits over the course of the year. The UNSW ASPIRE team are excited by our growing partnership with the Walgett Community, and look forward to regular visits back and forth.
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From left: Michael Peachey, Jeeves Verma, Farhana Laffernis and James Yau
Where did you grow up? I was born in India, and I’ve been in Australia on and off since I was six months old. I grew up somewhere in between New Delhi, Melbourne and Sydney. When did you first come across Nura Gili? I first came across Nura Gili in 2010 when I was in my second year at UNSW and started volunteering for the Walama Muru program. Can you share about your experiences with Nura Gili? I’ve absolutely loved being involved with Nura Gili, through work and volunteering as well as through my studies. From when I started volunteering and eventually coordinating Walama Muru, Nura Gili has always been the most friendly and supportive environment to work with -probably one of the reasons I’ve been at UNSW for so long! My experience as the Walama Muru coordinator last year, working with student volunteers and the Palm Island community really consolidated how much I love working with Nura Gili and with Indigenous student support. Being a volunteer with Walama Muru is what really inspired me to continue my education towards community development and Indigenous Studies. You’re currently working as a valued member of Nura Gili student team. Can you share some insights about your role and experiences? My involvement with Winter School, Pre Programs and Ngurra has been really exciting –as a supervisor for Winter School in 2012 and then working on Ngurra as part of my internship placement have been incredible experiences. My role is currently assisting with Pre Programs and Winter School, and I’m very grateful to have to opportunity to work on such amazing programs. Celebrating our students, alumni, staff and programs across all our communities 24
It’s an incredibly vibrant workplace and I’m never bored, there’s always something new and challenging around the corner. One major highlight for me this year was the opportunity to go on one of the Light and Fire road shows, visiting rural high schools and talking to students about higher education. What are your top tips for incoming Pre Program students, students who are applying to UNSW via our Indigenous Admissions Scheme and all our Indigenous students who will be coming to study at UNSW in 2014? For students applying to UNSW in 2014, my top tips would be to ask questions, keep an open mind about different degrees and to be themselves in their interviews and during the programs. Uni may not be for everyone and that’s fine, but the best way to find out and challenge yourself is to have a go and get as much information as you can about your courses and about the uni. What have you studied and are you studying? I’ve completed a Bachelor of Social Science and Policy and a Master of Social Development -Community Development. I’m currently taking my time with the Master of Indigenous Studies. Can you give some insights about your different choices and experiences in relation to you studies? Including some of the things you've discovered along the way, particular surprises and highlights? I started out in the Bachelor of Social Science which was a great but I always wanted to know more about community development and Indigenous studies so that was my real motivation for pursuing the Master’s degrees. I never thought I was a great student so it’s very surprising that to have stayed studying for so long, but if it’s something you’re really passionate about and interested in, it doesn’t really feel like work. What do you do to unwind from work and studies? I don’t ever find that I have that much free time to unwind but I usually go for yoga and tragic 80s movies You’ve also been involved with ARC – can you share about your different roles /projects with Arc and any other aspects of UNSW you’ve been involved with? I’ve worked at Arc in volunteer program coordination over the past two years, as the Walama Muru and Volunteer Army Coordinators, and as a volunteer for both these programs as well as Yellow Shirts. I’m still pretty actively involved with Arc as a volunteer – at the moment I’m the Entertainment Coordinator for the OWeek 2014 Organising Team -which is like another full time job!. It involves organising all the evening events during O-Week, such as bands, the Roundhouse parties, comedy and movie nights that will be fun and engaging for first year students, as well as recruiting and training Yellow Shirt volunteers for O-Week. What’s next for you? Hopefully, graduating! Interview with Rebecca Harcourt
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The University of New South Wales (UNSW) is one of Australia's leading research and teaching universities, with 9 outstanding faculties that offer courses in a range of different study areas, UNSW is a great choice to undertake your degree. At UNSW, we take pride in the broad range and high quality of our teaching programs. Our teaching gains strength and currency from our research activities, strong industry links and our international nature; UNSW has a strong regional and global engagement. In developing new ideas and promoting lasting knowledge we are creating an academic environment where outstanding students and scholars from around the world can be inspired to excel in their programs of study and research. Partnerships with both local and global communities allow UNSW to share knowledge, debate and research outcomes. UNSW’s public events include concert performances, open days and public forums on issues such as the environment, healthcare and global politics. With 9 outstanding faculties, over 300 study areas, located in one of the best cities in the world, over 50,000 students from every country in the world and commitment to Indigenous education and research ‘make UNSW your first choice’ Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Arts and Social Sciences is a recognised leader in arts, social sciences and, humanities teaching and research. With leading academics and industry experts, we offer you professionally relevant degrees and internationally recognised research opportunities. Study Areas: Arts, Australian Studies, Criminology, Dance, English, Film, History, International Studies, Indigenous Studies, Journalism, Languages and Linguistics, Media, Music, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Politics and International Relations, Secondary Education, Social Science, Social Work, Sociology and Anthropology, Theatre and Performance Studies. arts.unsw.edu.au Australian School of Business Recognised as one of the top business schools in Australia, our business degrees have been designed for the very best students, and suit a variety of career aspirations and interests. We offer you a flexible and creative teaching environment that ensures learning is cutting edge, and will connect you with some of Australia’s leading business experts to support your professional ambitions. Study Areas: Accounting, Actuarial Studies, Business Law, Economics, Finance, Human Resource Management, Information Systems, International Business, Marketing and Taxation, asb.unsw.edu.au Faculty of Built Environment Built Environment is where the brightest students from around the world converge to study design, planning, construction, management and impacts of man-made buildings and infrastructure. We focus on the design, management and delivery of the 21st-century city and all its landscape, interiors, urban fabric and industrial design. Study Areas: Architectural Computing, Architectural Studies, Construction Management and Property, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Planning be.unsw.edu.au
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College of Fine Arts (Paddington Campus) As Australia’s premier Art, Design and Media school, COFA will help you unleash your creative potential, develop your skills and carve a niche that will set you up for a successful life as a professional artist. Study Areas: Art, Art Education, Art History, Design, Media Arts, Fine Arts cofa.unsw.edu.au Faculty of Engineering The Faculty of Engineering at UNSW is the largest in Australia, with the widest range of undergraduate degree choices, numerous scholarships and strong links to industry. We offer you 26 undergraduate degrees as well as several dual degrees. You will have the opportunity to take part in various student-led projects such as building solar cars; designing formula-style racing cars; and competing in the international Robocup soccer league. Our graduates are professionally accredited to work in Australia and around the world, and are offered jobs in the private sector, consulting, finance, government, academia and more. Study Areas: Biomedical Engineering, Bioinformatics, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Mining Engineering, Software Engineering, Surveying and Spatial Information Systems, Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering Petroleum Engineering eng.unsw.edu.au Faculty of Law UNSW Law School offers the highest-rated law degree in Australia. Founded over 40 years ago, we constantly strive to lead and inspire change through public engagement and outstanding research. We will enable you to apply a rigorous, socially-responsible legal education to a diversity of careers. Study Areas: Law law.unsw.edu.au UNSW Medicine UNSW Medicine is one of Australia’s largest and most prestigious medical schools and offer innovative and unique teaching with links to some of Australia’s leading teaching hospitals, in both urban and rural NSW. We have an enviable track record in cutting-edge medical research and provide facilities that are world class. The Bachelor of Exercise Physiology is a recent addition to the Faculty’s well-established six-year undergraduate Medicine curriculum leading to the awards of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB BS). Study Areas: Medicine, Exercise Physiology med.unsw.edu.au Faculty of Science The Faculty of Science offers specialist degrees such as Psychology, Optometry, and Medicinal Chemistry, as well as degrees that allow students to explore the breadth of science before selecting a major. If you have a curious mind, want to learn from world renowned researchers and need a degree that is relevant to current issues, look no further than Science at UNSW Study Areas: Anatomy, Aviation, Biology and Biotechnology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ecology, Food Science, Genetics, Geography, Marine Science, Materials Science, Mathematics and Statistics, Medical Science, Nanotechnology, Neuroscience, Optometry and Vision Science Pathology, Pharmacology, Physics, Psychology, Physiology science.unsw.edu.au Australian Defence Force Academy (UNSW Canberra) At the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in Canberra, UNSW offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, engineering, science, and technology as part of training for midshipmen and officer cadets of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Study Areas: Arts, Business, Engineering, Science unsw.adfa.edu.au
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“I want students to walk away from us believing that they have the ability to be anything they want to be as long as they have a dream and they never give up” Leearna Williams.
Each year Nura Gili attends Indigenous and non-Indigenous careers expos and conducts our ‘Light and Fire’ presentations at schools and TAFEs as part of our Recruitment and Outreach activities. We travel throughout Sydney and across Regional NSW. The careers expos provide us with the opportunity to share information about Nura Gili and UNSW with prospective students and members of the community. Nura Gili invites schools, TAFEs, individuals and organisations to visit our Kensington campus where we conduct our presentation with you, including a tour of the UNSW campus. Visit us at Balnaves place- Home of Nura Gili and we will provide you with a great opportunity to learn firsthand more about Nura Gili’s programs, entry pathways and all about the different programs you can study with us Let us know if would like us to have a stall at or your school, TAFE, organisation or expo and if you would like to visit us here on campus Leearna Williams Nura Gili Student Recruitment Officer For more information please contact: Nura Gili on (02) 9385 3805 or email email@example.com
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Nura Gili provides pathways to learning opportunities that embrace Indigenous knowledge, culture and histories. Nura Gili strives for excellence in educational services and works towards assuring participation and access to all the programs it offers. The staff and students at Nura Gili support community outreach programs to actively spread the message of the availability of tertiary studies. Staff and students also work to promote the centrality of arts, culture and heritage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples - throughout UNSW and the wider community. The words Nura Gili are from the language of the Eora Nation, Nura meaning â€˜place' and Gili meaning â€˜fire/light'. Nura Gili at UNSW brings together these concepts to create the meaning â€˜place of fire and light'. The theme of place remains important to the many cultures of Indigenous Australia. The University of New South Wales acknowledges and recognises the very place that we have all come together to work, share, study and learn as the traditional lands of three separate Aboriginal communities: the Bedegal ( Kensington campus), Gadigal (City and College of Fine Arts Campuses) and the Ngunnawal people (Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra). The site of UNSW is located near an 8000 year old campsite around which the people of the area taught culture, history and subsistence. From an age old past through to the present the site holds significance as a place for gathering, meeting, teaching and sharing. The concept of a fireplace and fire in general reflects the warm, relaxed and nurturing environment created by age-old fires many years ago, and recreated today by the staff and students of Nura Gili. The shared inspiration , drive and purpose for the staff and students of Nura Gili is that they belong to a community on campus where there is a fire burning, where people come together to share, as has been done for thousands of years. Nura Gili values the potential that education can offer, and with the theme of the fireplace in mind, we invite Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to gather, learn and share together, to light a torch of their own, to guide them, and light their way as they create their own journey.
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Published on Nov 4, 2013
As seen on our cover with Yuin Elder Uncle Paul’s teaching, this issue of Nura Gili shares a window on many of the enriching programs and re...