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1st August 2019

The poetry of First Nations students amplified proudly on buses

By Jennine Primmer

Image of The poetry of First Nations students amplified proudly on buses

As part of the community’s ongoing NAIDOC celebrations, the powerful poems of First Nations' students' have been published on a grand scale on bus backs! 

First Nations’ students involved the Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) project on Gundungurra Country this year were excited to see their poems about threatened species and incorporating first languages, published on the back of buses. 

Young Jake from Bowral Public School, was particularly excited to see his poem and his photo on the buses, when asked what he thought, he said “Let’s make our land grow!” 

For Jake's father, Michael seeing his son's poetry on the bus was a special moment that sang of intergenerational pride and carrying on of First Nations language and culture.

Grace, who is currently sitting her HSC trials at Moss Vale High School said she was excited to see her poetry writ large on the back of the buses.

“The project had a huge impact on me and has informed the work I’m doing for my HSC visual arts. My theme is conservation and the extinction of animals not just in Australia but around the world."

The buses will be sailing around the Southern Highlands from 24 July until early September 2019! 

See photos of Jake and Grace with their busbacks> 

About the project

This year’s NAIDOC theme of “Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s Work Together for a Shared Future” highlights collaboration, creativity and respect for the environment.

Red Room Poetry’s PIFL project joined forces with the NSW Government's Saving our Species (SoS) program and Wingecarribee Shire Council presenting a poetic and environmental learning project for young First Nations students on Gundungurra Country in this Year of Indigenous Languages.

The Southern Highlands based project brought together local students to learn about Indigenous language poetry and threatened species conservation, with a focus on glossy black cockatoos.


Gundungurra program 2019

Students from Aurora Southern Highlands Steiner School, Moss Vale High School, Bowral Public School and Berrima Public School met in March in a three-day event which brought Gundungurra Elder Aunty Sharyn Halls, Gundungurra Language Custodian, Aunty Trish Levett together with (Gundungurra raised Gunai Woman) Kirli Saunders and environmentalist and Gumea Dharawal Custodian Jacob Morris, to create poetry in language while learning about the environment, specifically through the Glossies in the Mist project.


Read the student poems and see photos from Gundungurra 2019>