On Monday the 7th of September our team headed to Dryandra which is situated 173km South East of Perth. Twenty-Two year 10 Narrogin Senior High School students have been involved in our 20 week Rising Leaders program which has been run by our Upper Great Southern staff Liam, Sophie, Ijah and Tony as well as local Narrogin alumni Chanté and Aaliyah throughout term 2 and 3 of 2022. The Rising Leaders program aims to utilise sport, art and other means as a way of supporting the development and engagement of students within the school environment. As a part of the program, our students in Narrogin were treated to an ‘On Country’ day trip to Dryandra which was lead by Basil Kickett and family.
We were fortunate to have Basil take us to various historic sites and give us detailed information about the farms they worked on as young kids. One of our young Wiilman Nyoongar Maman (man) staff members Ijah Cole mentioned that “it is important for us to sit down with our elders to listen and learn Kaartdijin (knowledge) of our history, so our traditions are kept safe and continue over time”. As part of the program the students are given an opportunity to learn about their local country and cultural heritage. However, it is important that our non-indigenous also gain knowledge of their cultures and beliefs. At times, our history of Australia has been overlooked and many students have been learning in depth information of other countries, which is important however learning about our own country, our own beliefs and our own people is indispensable.
The day started with a welcome to country, followed by a visit to Pumphrey’s Bridge where Basil told some of the local stories related to Noongar people. The day continued with informative sessions learning about some of the old Indigenous artefacts, including the Boomerang, Spears and Shields which the students were really engaged with.
The students were then taken to significant sites including old camping reserves of the Nyoongar People, an old Corroboree known as a traditional Noongar meeting place, as well as numerous spiritual sites. For lunch and to end this incredible day we had with Basil, we had Kangaroo stew and damper on the menu.
The Stephen Michael Foundation would like to thank Basil Kickett for taking his time to explain his detailed knowledge of his culture and past experiences to the students from Narrogin Senior High School.