The launch of Tathra Public School’s Aboriginal Education Walk Signs and the Community Aboriginal Flyer was held on Tuesday.
Four signs erected in Tathra between the school and the headland state important Indigenous sites, and a flyer has been released to provide more information on them.
“It’s to highlight the community coming together, so we can embrace our past history and move forward together,” Bega Aboriginal Lands Council chairperson Graham Moore said.
Mr Moore’s daughter, Year 4 pupil Gjumurrah, thought the signs were “pretty cool”.
“They are important as people need to know what the history is of Aboriginals,” she said.
“I think they’re important because they will help people learn.”
It was a brisk morning, but a group of parents and community members showed up for the launch.
Under the guidance of Mr Moore and National Parks and Wildlife field officer Bruce Toomey, a smoking ceremony was held before attendees continued through an avenue of children holding eucalyptus leaves into the school hall, where Mr Moore began by giving the Welcome to Country address.
School principal Graham Roberts made note of how people visiting the signs would read and learn about local Indigenous history and culture.
“Today is a celebration of the milestone of three years of our strategic plan,” Mr Roberts said.
“The project demonstrates the school’s understanding and philosophy of being in a learning community.
“We see our role, as a local school, to work in initiatives that are going to educate large numbers of people.”
In a surprise presentation, Mr Roberts presented reliving assistant principal Margaret Taylor a certificate from the Department of Education acknowledging the work she had done in their Aboriginal Education program.
Ms Taylor said funding for the signs was provided by the Mumbulla Foundation, Tathra Lions Club and the Bega Valley Shire Council, and thanked Tathra P&C for its assistance in applying for the money.
Public Schools Far South Coast Network director Paul Morris congratulated everyone who had been involved in the project.
“The program demonstrates the fantastic role schools can play in working with the Aboriginal community to share their history and their culture,” he said.
Other projects the school has initiated include the production of an Indigenous language book – which was so popular only one copy remained – and cards with pictures painted by Tathra School pupils, Mr Moore and Mr Toomey.
“Without the partnerships we had, we wouldn’t have been able to put these projects together,” Mr Roberts said.
The school has recently been given an $8000 grant from the Department of Education, which will be used to extend the language and cultural program.
Signs point the way
Bega Aboriginal Lands Council chairman Graham Moore said the four new signs from the Tathra Public School to the headland highlight significant Indigenous areas.
“We are trying to educate the broader community about embracing their history,” he said.
The first sign is at the school’s bush tucker garden, which helps identify plant systems in the region, alternative natural medicine and native foods that are high in Vitamin C.
Another sign has a the picture and description of a painting by Mr Moore and Bruce Toomey, which is also on a card being sold by the school.
Titled “Tathra Country”, the painting portrays the three main river systems leading to the ocean, the mountains from where the rivers flow, and the night sky.
The next sign is installed near a repatriation site.
In 1961 the remains of two Indigenous men were dug up on Beach St, studied and held in the McLeay Museum collection in the University of Sydney’s Shellshear Museum until 2009, before being returned to the spot from where they were removed (BDN, 4/6/13).
The last sign is on the headland, and recognises people who have passed on.