Tuesday, 30 May 2017

We're all Custodians

We're All Custodians ( Professional Learning Event)

Sovereign Hill Education

Sovereign Hill


Started 4:00 pm

Alice Barnes

All teachers should feel empowered to teach aboriginal studies but turn to elders to help define culture.

Uncle Bryan

Talked about ceremony and tradition. 'Welcome to country' is about telling the rules of the land.

It is about respecting other people's customs. (Like inviting people into your house)  you have an obligation to care for and look after country. Only take what you need and disrespect the people and the land.( Take only photos and leave only footprints) pass it on in a better state for your children.


Make knowledge of original owners known to the school community. 

Talked about teaching shared history. Showed a massacre map 1836-1850.

Discussed Indigenous Studies at Federation University and saw a film clip from them. ( Starting to teach pre-service teachers about teaching aboriginal culture)

Learning about aboriginal and Torres Strait islander histories and cultures is part of the Victorian curriculum. Refer VCAA website for PDF version of 

60000 years of aboriginal occupancy of Australia. Could by 120000 years

35 nations in Victoria ( customs and traditions)

Lake Condal is a good example of permanent settlements including fish farming.( Refer Melbourne Museum)

First colony in Victoria in 1803 failed. William Buckley lived with Wadawurrung people for over 30 years.

John Batman's treaty with the Melbourne aborigines was signed in 1835.Squatters arrived after that. Traditional food sources destroyed by sheep. Land claimed and aboriginals were driven off. Bulk of massacres occurred at this time.

In 1851 the non aboriginal population was 77000 but after the gold rush was 500000.( It took 16 years to drive aboriginals off their land.)

Mission system stared in 1861.

Refer 'Hidden Histories' timeline. (Great school resource and includes a teaching kit)

Pete Hoban

Peter talked about teaching Outdoor and environmental studies incorporating land use by aboriginal groups. 


  • Not many primary sources
  • Portraying aboriginals always as victims 

Good new stories

Aboriginal land use is sustainable

Europeans didn't recognise aboriginal land use.( Refer: Bill Gammage on YouTube ) historically bush referred to park like countryside.Aborigines used sophisticated fire stick farming used for kangaroos.

Every animal and people have a totem. You must look after your totem. this is kinship. A relationship with the land and the animal.( refer Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe in our parent library) 

Pascoe talks about stoked grasses in southern Queensland proving aboriginal land use. 34000 year old grinding stones have been discovered. Victoria described as have an abundance of yam daisies. ( sheep at these and practically made them extinct.) 

These were farmed by aborigines. Aborigines lived in little villages.

Pascoe said: '.....this information should help every Australian be proud of all of our history' a really positive story about land use Age can be told.

Back at school

  • Consider looking after a native animal as our 'local totem' such as kookaburras.
  • Visit Lal Lal Falls when it is running.( Bunjil country) 
  • Use Hidden Histories resources.( also refer ABC Open Bryan Powell )
  • Distribute NAIDOC week resources.

Uncle Bryan talked about local creation stories and local culture and answered questions.

Session ended 6:30 pm



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