On Thursday 11th August, our 27 MADALAH Youth Leaders were up early and ready to hit the road from the big smoke to travel to Gunnado Farm. The students were amazingly well behaved on and off the bus during our 5-hour commute. Upon arrival at Gunnado Farm, we unpacked our bags before venturing off to Ellendale Pool where MADALAH Student & Families Support Officer Charlie facilitated an Acknowledgment to Country of the Yamaji land that we stood on.
Charlie also talked about the significance of Ellendale Pool and how it was used for trade between our Yamaji nations, and that it wasn’t safe to swim in. There were many reasons that the pool was not used for swimming, one being that this is where the Bimarra (rainbow serpent) had rested and resided. However, the pool was used for swimming if the people who swam in it were respectful to the Bimarra and threw sand in before swimming. In respect to the traditional owners, the land and to ourselves and our families; the students and staff collected a small pile of sand and threw it into the river, this was a “hello, we are here and we respect the land we currently stand on”. It was a beautiful gesture that many students were amazed with and new to.
Wrapping up from Ellendale Pool we then made our way back to Gunnado farm, where we met Elders Des Mongoo, Ralph and Eric Dalgety. It was especially nice for Des to join us as a representative from Strandline who has generously sponsored this event. Whilst the students were engaged in the Elders yarning circle, a few staff headed to the kitchen to kick start dinner. After hearing the Elder’s individual stories and journey of life, the students took away a positive and powerful sense of strength and ownership; finishing off their time together by sharing in a meal of curried sausages.
After dinner, the students divided into five groups and participated in a quiz night. After the quiz night and one of the teams being awarded the winning group, the team spirit continued with five students, one from each group, representing their team in 1 round of UNO! It was then time for bed, with students heading off to separate camps, this saw our senior boys sleeping in swags around the fire and under the stars!
Overall, our first day was a busy one but it was great to gain a sense and feel of Wajarri / Yamiji country.
Shout out also to Lumiere Media for joining us and capturing the highlights!