For five years, an Aboriginal family in Central Australia has opened up their properties and their lives to share their stories with schoolchildren.
Story by Ken Eastwood
Collecting and eating honey ants. Hiking through the spectacular hidden oasis of Kings Canyon. Standing beside Uluru while a traditional owner speaks in their own language of the rock’s significance. Camping out under the stars on Aboriginal land. With so many sensational experiences on their 10-day visit to Central Australia, it’s surprising that Year 11 students Claire Gardner and Bianca Grzegorczyn pick the same highlight as being the “best” – and that was helping Aboriginal children in a classroom at Yipirinya School in Alice Springs. “We were just helping them out with some maths activities, and went out with them at lunch time and played with them,” Bianca says.
The girls, from Siena College in Camberwell, Vic, spent two days at the school at the start of their Educational Cultural Experience with Jungala, a Warlpirri, Luritja and Anamatyerrie man born in the bush. Each year for the past five years Siena College has sent a dozen or so girls on an immersion experience with Jungala Kriss and his extended family.
“We don’t call them ‘tours’, we call them ‘experiences’,” Jungala says. He conducts up to eight such experiences a year in the cooler months. “These kids have no idea about who they’re going to meet, who they’re going to see and what they’re going to do. Australian history is thrown in with the cultural aspects. We go out in the bush and dig for honey ants and things like that, find out how tedious it was for the women to go out and get food in the old days.”
This story excerpt is from Issue #110
Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2017