Worawa Term 4 Newsletter 2017

Strong Partners Strong Future

Strategic Partnerships at Worawa ensure that the holistic program we deliver remains strong, current and embedded within the greater community. While our excellent educational program, co-curricular activities and beautiful grounds ensure our students are supported and guided towards their best possible future, it is equally important that our courses are founded in the real world. Worawa is intentionally connected to only the very best of strategic organisations, institutions and companies.

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Year in Review

During the year students continually engaged in the numerous educational experiences offered at Worawa. This has included the RISE Camp at University of Melbourne, excursion to the Defence Force, work experience and more.

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Rise Camp

Between Monday 27th November and Saturday 2nd December, Dorothea, Justine, Kyema and Rochelle participated in the Residential Indigenous Science Experience (RISE) camp at Melbourne University.

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Drone Exercise

We are proud of our partnership with the University of Melbourne through which we have introduced an exciting direction in learning about and using future technologies as part of the Worawa Aboriginal College STEM curriculum.

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Creative Arts

Worawa Performing Arts students have had another very successful term. After months of creating and rehearsing, the girls performed their play ‘Turbine’ for students and teachers from all over Melbourne at the Malthouse Theatre.

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Download term 4 newsletter 2017

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Mountains by Stephanie Williams

A student’s journey at Worawa College.

Good Morning everyone, honoured guests, Elders, ladies and gentlemen.

I’d first like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and pay my respects to the Wurundjeri people.

My name is Stephanie Juanita Mabadoor Williams I am a proud, passionate young lady seen as a leader in my community I believe in loving God and having respect for others and for my culture. I also believe in education as it’s the key to open the doors I want to go through.

My tribes are Gulumoerrgin and Muran, and my languages are Larrakia and Llwaidja. I am from Darwin and West Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.

I have been attending Worawa College for four years now since I was twelve.

During my time at Worawa I’ve had many blessings and opportunities as well as making my friends forever – my sisters.

In my first year at Worawa, I wasn’t sure what I would make of my time at the college or even if it was right for me. I was eleven turning twelve. Can you imagine leaving home at a young age!

I was nervous, although I was keen too. It was a new adventure on the other side of the country!

I had to see what this adventure would bring, but I was so scared because for the first time this adventure was on my own.

I remember looking out to the beautiful big Mountains and feeling so small. I went behind a building and sat on a stump and asked myself “Is this right?” I looked in the mountains where I was sitting and I saw a ditch in the mountain. I imagined it’s like I’m about to take a huge big leap over that ditch.

Now it came to me that to take this leap is risky – what if I fall?

I’m leaving everything I know, I’m leaving home.

I said, “God show me if it’s right.” I looked closely at the mountain, my eyes began to adjust, my vision became clear – the ditch in the mountain was no longer a ditch but a road.

I had seen a car travelling up the mountain. I thought well it looks like I better see where this road, this new path, takes me to.

This path has taken me to amazing places. In my first year, I had been selected with other students to attend the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in Hawaii. I was able to meet First Nation People from around the world. There were so many things that were great about the trip: the singing and dancing, the beaches and the culture.

I have been on student exchanges and attended many conferences and performed or spoken.

I had the opportunity to make my Debut at last year’s Debutante Dreaming. We were able to socialize with a new group of friends that we would never have usually met and learned dances.

We stood and were proud of our Cultures and achievements. I’ve acted in school plays such as at the Malthouse Theatre. Worawa allowed me to explore my talents such as sport: I play netball, basketball, football, touch rugby. I have a lot of interest in AFL. I was able to be a part of the first Worawa Lady Eaglehawks AFL team and have been able to enjoy other experiences through Worawa in the broader community. I have been the Victorian Indigenous captain for two consecutive years.

I learnt a lot about myself and my character at Worawa. I have learnt about good leadership and listening skills, and to work as one in our community. I was the captain of the school. I am extremely passionate and push myself to all my abilities in my sporting life as well as at school.

I’m an MVP winner in the whole competition in the national Indigenous Kick-Start AFL. I have proudly been in Australia’s first 2017 indigenous and multicultural all-stars team at a national level and now two years in the Woomeras team. I have represented the Northern Territory in the u18s NAB cup and have recently played for the Yarra Ranges Vline Rep team in Gippsland.

I always thank God for all these achievements. I’d like to get drafted one day in the women’s AFL.

As well as sport, my future dreams and aspirations are to complete my schooling in year 12 and further my education at university and study exercise science and health, because with these I could make a good change in my community and be the bridge that can help my people improve health and better it for future generations as well as knowing the language, both indigenous and English to help translate for my old people and possibly become a teacher.

This year at Worawa I was able to learn about sports medicine and get a certificate and also enjoy work experience at Badger Creek Primary School, doing work like teachers’ aide and experiencing life as a teacher as well as the experience of coaching young primary kids in athletics and getting certified as a children’s coach.

Back to when I first started off at Worawa: I wasn’t sure – I felt small around these mountains, the country was different to what I’m used to. I’m a saltwater girl and there was no sea around but now I’m sure, I’m certain, and I feel as though I can conquer all mountains and life’s hurdles.

The message I’d like to send to the younger girls and students is never to be afraid to take a jump of faith into the unknown; always have love; be courageous. If you make a mistake remember my sisters, pick yourself up and try to find your path! Never let your struggles define you or let any negativity around shape you or mistakes break you – be leaders for our indigenous youth. You are all arangkarud arradbi – strong Aboriginal people; strong in the mind, spirit and most of all strong in the heart.

Be leaders for Our People and climb every mountain because difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations such as this.

– Mountains, by Student Representative Speaker, Stephanie Williams. 2017.

VCAL at Worawa

About Year 11 and 12

In 2018 Worawa Aboriginal College is introducing the Victorian Certificate in Applied Learning (VCAL). This is a ‘hands-on’ certificate that is a recognized senior secondary year 11 and 12 qualifications.

It is a practical way of getting year 11 or 12 that fits with the way many people like to learn. There are no exams or tests but projects that give students many opportunities to show what they can do.

VCAL provides a pathway to many TAFE and to some University courses and makes the transition to work much easier. It is a really great way to get a year 11 and 12 because subjects allow students to explore work options, career choices and to gain credits towards a TAFE qualification. Projects also give students the chance to give back to the community in ways that they choose. The qualification further builds social skills, work and leadership skills as well as study options.

Stepping up to the next level of education is a milestone for students. At Worawa Aboriginal College we prepare students for work and study as well as leadership roles in their community. Worawa students are prepared to walk in two worlds so they can make good choices about their own futures. The VCAL provides an alternative for young women as they journey to adulthood, further studies, work and community engagement in a supportive, culturally safe boarding school environment with a sound, ‘Two-Way’ educational background. The program provides real skills for employment, study and adult life. College programs are also strengthened by a range of partnerships in the academic, sports, health and creative arts sectors.

All VCAL students have an array of work experience choices and practical skills that make getting work in the future much easier.


Pathways and Partners

All VCAL students take part in a Certificate II in Business unless they decide to participate in paid traineeships and on the job training that will help them gain employment and get in to further study.

RMIT University
Deakin University
University of Melbourne
Schiavello International
The Deloitte Foundation
Malthouse Theatre
Healesville Sanctuary
Hawthorn Football Club
Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts
RACV Healesville Country Club
Rotary Club of Richmond
Umpiring Academy – AFL Victoria
Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development



Work Related Skills – Participate in work experience, getting a learner’s permit and gaining advice from work mentors.

Industry Specific Skills – Complete the Certificate II in Business as part of the VCAL and gain Food Handlers, First Aid and Barista skills as part of the program. Students can also complete a paid traineeship.

Literacy – Practical projects include communication skills, writing skills as well as the presentation of research and information. This includes report writing, presenting arguments and opinions as well as letters, emails and other useful forms of writing.

Numeracy – Practical projects that include budgets, maths for the living, maths for work and any other numeracy skills that are needed for adult life, work and study.

Personal Development Skills – Working with the community, organising events, fundraising, understanding how to work in a team and be self-motivated.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

If you have successfully completed year 10 and you meet the general Worawa application criteria, you can apply to study VCAL.

How to Apply

Accommodation is limited and so for the first intake of VCAL students in 2018, we are only accepting current or past Worawa students. All students wanting to apply for year 11 at Worawa need to fill in the application form and attend an interview.

Want to Know More About VCAL?

To find out more, have a yarn with the Worawa VCAL Coordinator or you can find more detailed information about VCAL at www.vcaa.vic.edu.au.

We encourage students and their families to look at this information. Summary information from the website will also be provided to you to discuss at home.

Work readiness, life and study within an Aboriginal framework.

Student Exhibition 2017

Walk in Two Worlds is a collection of art proudly produced by the students of Worawa in 2017 that will be on display at the Sandra Bardas Gallery at Worawa from Wednesday 13 December 2017.

Ridgefield Open Gardens

A Beautiful Garden set in the Breathtaking Ancient Splendour of the Yarra Valley. Warwick and Paulette Bisley warmly invite you to enjoy their garden and life’s work.

Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 November 2017
Where: 58 Boundary Rd Coldstream
Open: 10.00am – 4.30pm
Entry price: $10 (children U18 free)

Nestled in the stunning natural beauty offering unmatched views of the ancient Yarra Valley, Ridgefield has over a hectare of lovingly created country garden. Designed by Robert Boyle, the garden gives protection from the considerable valley winds and includes a Formal Garden, Crab-apple Lawn, Croquet Lawn, Walled Garden, Birch Walk, Rose Beds, an orchard and vegetable garden.

Wander through the beautiful garden and experience special performances by students of Worawa Aboriginal College. Enjoy Devonshire Tea, wine sale, BBQ and plant sale, homemade goods, coffee. Featuring Aboriginal art by Worawa students.

Presentation Day 2017

On Presentation Day we will acknowledge and reward the achievement of our students and we extend an invitation to you to join us in this celebration. Following the Awards Ceremony guests may adjourn to the Sandra Bardas Gallery to view an exciting exhibition of Aboriginal fine art by our students and communities they come from.

Keynote Speaker
Dr Jackie Huggins AM

Dr Jackie Huggins is a Bidjara (central Queensland) and Birri–Gubba Juru (North Queensland) woman from Queensland who has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs for over thirty years. Jackie is a celebrated historian and author who has documented the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout the decades.

In 2001, Jackie received the Member of the Order of Australia for services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Throughout her career spanning over four decades, Jackie has played a leading role in reconciliation, literacy, women’s issues and social justice.

Jackie holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland and Flinders University (with Honours) a Diploma of Education and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Queensland. Most recently, Jackie was the Director of Jackie Huggins and Associates, a consultancy business, following a long and distinguished record of public service and professional achievement. She is currently the Co-Chair of National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.


RSVP is now closed.

Event Details

13 December 2017


60-80 Barak Lane, Healesville

5 December 2017

Worawa Term 3 Newsletter 2017

Art at Worawa

Painting, Acting, Filming, Fabric dying, Photography, Beat Poetry, Dancing – so many art forms have been involved in the Arts Program at Worawa this term.

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Deakin University COLLAB17

We were pleased to have a group of students from the Deakin University Faculty of Arts and Education work in collaboration with the College as part of the University’s Collaboration in Design (COLLAB) Project. The COLLAB17 project included reformatting of student artworks into merchandise gift wrapping paper and greeting cards.

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Sports Academy

This term, the students in the Sports Academy were fortunate to have Athletics Australia coach, Bridgid Junot, attend Worawa every Thursday to deliver the Level 1 ‘Kids’ Athletics Coaching Course. The program was tailored for the students to enable them to learn the basic concepts and principles of coaching whilst integrating basic literacy and numeracy concepts into each lesson.

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Emerging Sports Talent

Estherlita Forbes is an emerging sports talent. Selected for the Eastern Football League U15 Interleague Selection Trials, Estherlita also excels in Little Athletics in the long jump, high jump and distance running.

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Congratulations to Our Under 13’s Netball Team

Our Under 13’s netball team have had an amazing Winter Season. The team has only lost 2 games, which were played at the start of the season; they had a winning streak from March to September.

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Weekend Recreation Activities

On weekends the girls enjoy a range of recreation activities. Sunday, 20th August took them on an exciting trip to enjoy the snow at Lake Mountain Resort in Marysville. For many, it was their first experience of snow and of being up in the mountains. The excitement and anticipation built up as we approached the resort, and the girls caught their first glimpse of snow on the trees and on the side of the road.

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Work Experience and Pathways

This term Year 10 students have been heading out of school to experience the world of work. This has included tours and talks as well as individual work placements within the Healesville business community. The Healesville RACV Resort was one such business.

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Download term 3 newsletter 2017

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Worawa Term 2 Newsletter 2017

Reconciliation Sports Carnival

There was a lot of activity in sports during Term Two with the major event being the Reconciliation Sports Carnival. Held on the 23rd of May, it turned out to be a fantastic day. The weather held up nicely, with only a sprinkling of rain. The rest of the day provided ideal conditions for the football and netball tournaments.

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Students studied geometry in Mathematics this term. After mastering the topic of gradients, students applied the knowledge to financial matters, learning about regularly putting money aside as savings and the long-term effects from varying the amounts regularly saved.

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Indigenous Weather Knowledge

Staff from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) gave a presentation to students on Indigenous Weather Knowledge. They told students about their visits to consult elders on seasonal weather cycles and to learn how the community functions in different seasons.

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Deloitte Reconciliation Action Plan

Worawa is proud to be formally recognised as part of the Deloitte Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). At a formal function held on 7 June, Deloitte announced a renewed emphasis on its Reconciliation Action Plan ‘New Horizons’ under the revitalised program there is a renewed emphasis on Indigenous engagement across the organisation.

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Cadet Ranger Program

The Cadet Ranger Program operates in partnership with the Healesville Sanctuary and continues to provide amazing opportunities for students to learn about wildlife and conservation. The critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeater is the bird emblem for Victoria. The Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater volunteers are revegetating an area with local species of grasses, plants, shrubs and trees in the hope of recreating the original environment that the birds flourished in.

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Worawa Principal Honoured

Worawa Principal Lois Peeler AM, was presented with the Doctor of Social Science Honoris Causa by RMIT University. In accepting the doctorate Dr Peeler said “My work and the work of my sister, Hyllus Maris the Founder of Worawa Aboriginal College, was to create transformative experiences to prepare Aboriginal youth for life and work so they may shape their own world. We already held within us, the world’s oldest living culture, with all its complexities and meaning. Hyllus knew that we needed our own school so our culture could be held as precious and central to all learning. This was the impetus for my family’s passion for our own place, meeting our needs, our own curriculum and our Worawa Way of knowing, doing and being was birthed.

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Lady Eaglehawks

The 2017 football season has been very exciting. The girls have developed skills and gained confidence throughout the season. Some girls have played for the first time and have surprised the coach with how quickly they pick up rules and game plan.

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Download term 2 newsletter 2017

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From Model to Role Model

Among the notable Australians pausing to reflect on the 50th anniversary of the historic 1967 Aboriginal referendum will be the one-time model, turned pillar of Indigenous education, Lois Peeler.

By Luke Waters. This is a story about Lois Peeler on inspiring the next generation of Indigenous Australians – SBS.

Read the full story on SBS.




lois_cynthia_thelma_lois_at_cummera lois_briggs_gown_on_beach

From Little Things – empowering young Aboriginal women with skills and confidence

Imagine leaving behind your family, your country, your way of life. All at the age of 12. That is what it takes for young women to pursue an education at Worawa Aboriginal College — Victoria’s only independent Aboriginal school and the first of only two Aboriginal-controlled boarding schools in Australia.

By photojournalist Jane Cowan. This is a story about Worawa College empowering young Aboriginal women with skills and confidence – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Read the full story on ABC News.