In the lead up to NAIDOC Day 2019 celebrations at Maryland Public School,
the students and staff worked together to create a range of different story poles. In the creation of these poles, students explored concepts relating to this year’s theme of Voice, Treaty and Truth. During the design phase, some students learnt about a range of significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, such as Eddie Mabo, and their efforts towards treaty. Other classes focused on voice, learning about how Aboriginal peoples tell stories to teach morals and values to their children.
During the 2019 celebrations, classes presented their individual story poles to the school community at assemblies across the day. A brief overview of the poles and what classes learnt while making them was was discussed. Local high school students from Callaghan College Wallsend, Callaghan College Jesmond and Warners Bay High School helped to support the day through their dance and didgeridoo performances. Some of these students then ran workshops and assisted with other activities throughout the day.
Maryland students rotated through activities where they participated in Indigenous games, rock painting and story sharing. Community members assisted in the rock painting activities and Professor Michael Donovan, who is a Gumbaynggir man, shared local stories from the Awabakal area with students across the school. The day was thoroughly enjoyed by students and all community members who attended.