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Wanjoo: NAIDOC Week 2017

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NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. NAIDOC is celebrated all over Australia, focusing on the recognition and celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. It actually was started by an Aboriginal Christian man, William Cooper!

After a service in 1884, Cooper approached the pastor saying “I must give my heart to God…”. From there, he began a lifelong work to fight for Aboriginal rights. He also protested the persecution of the Jews by the Nazi Government of Germany. He circulated a petition and wrote to King George V about the conditions of the indigenous people of Australia. He confronted governments and eventually achieved the establishment of a National Aborigines Day, now known as NAIDOC Week.


NAIDOC Assembly

To celebrate NAIDOC Week this year at the Wilson Campus, each class shared their learning during a special assembly.

Year 6 began by singing “Wanjoo”, a welcome song in Noongar, written by Gina Williams.

Year 4 presented some fantastic posters of famous Indigenous Australians.

Year 5 taught us about the Indigenous artist, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, and showed us some beautiful pictures they had done, based on her style of art.

Year 2 proudly held up their stones with Aboriginal symbols painted on it, which will be used later on for storytelling.

Year 3 showed us some colourful Aboriginal dot paintings and explained what each symbol meant.

Year 3/4 pieced together a circular puzzle they had created, to teach us about the Noongar seasons.

Year 6 showed their fantastic posters and watercolour sketches based on Albert Namatjira’s work and taught the school a few facts.

Finally, Year 1s, Year 2s and Year 6s taught the school the words for “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” in the Noongar language and sang it for them.

We had a wonderful time celebrating the history, culture and achievements of the indigenous people of Australia. Thank you very much, to all the parents who attended and shared the experience with us.


Did You Know…?

  • There were about 250 Indigenous language groups when Europeans first made contact with Australia in the late eighteenth century? European settlement interrupted the passing of languages from one generation to another. Today, only 120 of those languages are still spoken and many are at risk of being lost.
  • Traditionally, Australian Indigenous people used spears, clubs, and boomerangs to hunt animals such as perentie, goanna, kangaroos, wombats, emus, and snakes. The women used digging sticks to collect insects and grubs.
  • Many Indigenous people have become Christians since European settlement. Did you know that in the Torres Strait, the conversion of Christianity is referred to as the “Coming of the Light?” On 1 July every year, they have a special festival and reenact the arrival of the missionaries!
  • Do you know who’s face is on our $50 note? His name is David Unaipon. He was a well-known indigenous inventor, preacher, and writer. He was the son of an evangelist, James Ngunaitponi, who was the first person to convert to Christianity in his tribe. David’s most well-known invention is a mechanical sheep shearing hand tool.

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