An important aspect of the Dhurga Rock Project recently had a lively start in both Braidwood schools, in the form of a series of workshops in indigenous art, dance and life.
With support from the Two Fires Festival, Budawang elder Noel Butler and his partner Trish Roberts travelled to Braidwood from the south coast to begin a series of workshops aimed at involving our school communities in learning more about the Aboriginal history of this land, and the rich culture intimately connected with the Braidwood area.
Noel Butler is an artist, skilled wood carver, and teacher, with extensive experience over decades sharing cultural knowledge. He also speaks warmly of his Great Granny who was born and lived in the Braidwood area. His knowledge of this area has come directly from his family’s ancestral links.
At St Bede’s School, Noel and Trish facilitated painting workshops for several classes, immersing the enthusiastic children in bringing alive the land animals, and the fresh and salt water creatures, that Noel had sketched on large canvasses. The students’ emerging dot painting skills were a joy to see. There were lively interchanges as they learned more about Aboriginal culture and history.
One student was heard to say this was the best day of her whole life!
The Braidwood Central School experienced dance and didgeridoo performances by Noel and Phillip Butler, backed by original songs from Trish. There were some concerns followed by a lot of laughter as Noel decided he had a “didgeridon’t” when no sound came out as he blew into it!
These performances were followed by classes learning about traditional tools and weapons, with plenty of hands-on time and many questions. The bush tucker discussion included a question about whether anyone had eaten pelican?
Noel and Trish are facilitating a total of 5 days of engaging cultural education with both schools.
At the Two Fires Festival in May we will display the students’ Aboriginal inspired art in Ryrie Park, and we will experience their newly acquired dance skills as part of the ceremony and celebrations. We expect the students to teach us adults a thing or two about the indigenous history of the area!