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The School

Waniora Public School is committed to providing quality education in a caring, stimulating and challenging environment. We promote participation in all academic, social and physical endeavours.

The Project

On 24 October, Gunai poet Kirli Saunders held workshops with Waniora Public School and Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts. These workshops are the first to use the 'Poetry in First Languages' resource, specially tailored to promote connection to country, culture and language. The day focused on poetry in Dharawal Language, with the support of local Language Custodian, Jodi Edwards.

Indigenous students heard dreaming stories from local elders and language holders, created poetry about the local landscape and identity and learnt about Dharawal language with the aims to translate sections of their poems and collaborate to perform their poetry. Discover their collaborations here »

The Poet

Kirli Saunders

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.