St John's Catholic Primary School Footscray
New Shoots, 2019
St John's Catholic Primary School is located in Footscray, 7 kilometres west of the central business district. It was established in 1922 as a church-school, built through the voluntary labour of parishioners. St John’s was under the guidance and leadership of the Sisters of St Joseph for 77 years up until 1999 when the first lay principal was appointed. The school is on a small inner suburban site that is utilised to create a positive learning environment.
In February, as part of Red Room Poetry's New Shoots project proud Gunai poet Kirli Saunders guided Years 3 and 4 students from St John's Catholic Primary School through a series of poetic workshops with Aunty Faye Stewart-Muir at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Victoria. The workshops, in association with RGBV, were dividedbetween these poetic exercises and programs exploring health and wellbeing in nature.
Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai woman, with ties to the Yuin, Gundungurra, Gadigal and Biripi people. She currently resides on Dharawal Country. Kirli is an international children’s author, poet and emerging playwright. She manages Poetry in First Languages and Poetic Learning at Red Room Poetry. Her picture books include CBCA nominated and internationally published, The Incredible Freedom Machines (Scholastic) and forthcoming, Our Dreaming and Happy Every After (Scholastic) and Afloat (Hardie Grant). Her poetry Collection, Kindred was Highly Commended in Black&Write 2018. She was Runner-up in the Nakata Brophy Prize 2018. Her poetry has been published by a number of journals (Cordite, Overland, Planthunter) and commissioned for public art. She is co-writing her first play, Dead Horse Gap.
In 2019, you can find Kirli at NT Writers Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival, Sydney Writers Festival, Enough Said and Word in Hand. She returns as writer in residence at The Literature Centre, Fremantle this year where she will perform The Incredible Freedom Machines with Matt Ottley and the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra in rural WA, at Coco’s Island and Christmas Island.