Dr Anita Heiss Worawa’s Ambassador

Dr Anita Heiss is the author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction, poetry, social commentary and travel articles. She is a regular guest at writers’ festivals and travels internationally performing her work and lecturing on Indigenous literature. She is a Lifetime Ambassador of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW. Anita currently divides her time between writing, public speaking, MCing, managing the Epic Good Foundation and being a ‘creative disruptor’. Anita was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards and the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards and is a Board Member of the State Library of Queensland. She currently lives in Brisbane.

Anita’s latest book (as editor) is Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia published by Black Inc Books.

Worawa Term 2 Newsletter 2018

Whispers of the Land

In the lead up to NAIDOC Worawa had the opportunity to showcase the creative work being undertaken in our Learning Centres at a Fashion Runway at the Melbourne Museum, in the aptly named, ‘You Can’t Do That’ exhibition space. From possum skin cloak to couture design – narrative was always evident. Our collection titled, ‘Whispers of the Land’ came to life in bright acrylics on couture design and bush colour floating on silk creations.

Worawa is implementing a STEAM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths). Our Aboriginal pedagogy is drawn from the living landscape and based on Aboriginal beliefs and values which encompasses respect for the land and links content to local land and place.

Worawa offers an elective where students have been learning natural dye techniques using plants and plant extracts utilising either found leaf matter or plant extracts from our land and elsewhere. Under the guidance of teachers with passion and expertise, students are producing sensational natural dye fabrics which are then designed and fashioned into garments.

Worawa has a vibrant Art Studio where students are producing high-quality work where they showcase their youth, uniqueness and their Culture. It is in this creative hub students have the opportunity to express their Aboriginal identity and connect to their country and Dreaming stories.

The artworks produced have many applications and have been applied to fabric for the creation of stunning garments which are offset by masks constructed from natural products. Students develop a sophisticated understanding of art and how it can be presented. From idea to the canvas, canvas to fabric or poster or internet campaign – the possibilities become endless for these artists of the future.

Recently our students excitedly prepared for showing the garments in a fashion parade and modelled with all the aplomb of seasoned professionals. The event was a resounding success. Worawa College’s aim to provide excellent opportunities for students who attend to develop their self-confidence and self-esteem, while being grounded in their Indigenous heritage was emphatically met. Another step in being ready to take their place to “Walk in Two Worlds” and to govern their own choices. We are justly proud of these projects and even more glowingly proud of the students who take part in them with such energy and prowess.

STEAM at Worawa

Our STEAM program has allowed students to express their innovation and creativity throughout Term 2 with a range of exciting projects focusing on wearables and electronics. Our industry partnerships have ensured that the girls were immersed in genuine workplace scenarios and experienced a merging of cutting edge and traditional technologies.

Students from the year 9/10 Kombadik class attended Yarra Ranges Tech School where they worked in design teams with Littlebits Electronics. The girls came up with a range of advanced wearable technologies to measure your heart rate, footsteps and body temperature, as well as a portable Bluetooth, enabled surround sound system. Kombadik will be attending Yarra Ranges Tech School again in Term 3 to use CAD software and 3D printers to create the wearable casings for their technologies.

Students in years 7 & 8 are experiencing the future of solar energy with CSIRO. The Cumbungi class kick started their project with an excursion to Melbourne Zoo to see the experimental lightweight and flexible solar film in action at a trial installation. The girls are working on creating a 2nd installation incorporating solar lighting on our very own Dreaming Trail.

Selected students braved a daily 3 hour round trip to attend RMIT for a 5-day screen printing workshop experiencing the entire design process from initial design, transfer to film, photo emulsion onto silk screens and printing on a range of products. Keep your eye out for a range of WORAWA canvas bags, tea towels and t-shirts in the future.

Students from the Fashion & Textiles elective wowed the crowd on the Whispers of the Land runway in the You Can’t Do That exhibition space at Melbourne Museum as they displayed their garments produced using natural dye processes.

The girls topped off their busy STEAM timetable with their ongoing work on the Worawa Seasonal Calendar. Girls in years 9 & 10 participated in a fascinating conversation with Dr Sue Barrell, Chief Scientist with the BOM, learning more about how the weather is monitored and predicted. Year 7 & 8 continued to analyse and visualise data, focusing on rainfall. We look forward to inputting our data and beta testing our new interactive Seasonal Calendar website with software engineering students from Melbourne University.

We are set for more STEAM excitement, learning and collaboration in Term 3.

Literacy – Words at Work

This term there has been a lot of activity and progress as students have planned and practised how to speak confidently in front of an audience, presenting ideas, opinions or information. In Assembly, we have seen a wonderful film made and narrated by the girls, which demonstrated and explained all the complicated and important steps (procedures) they followed to use natural products and objects to dye silk.

This produced beautiful fabrics for fashion garments. The film-makers made sure that the communication was clear by using close-ups and subtitles as well. Another class accepted a big challenge and wrote and recorded their own voice-overs to tell new stories of different animated videos. The whole school enjoyed seeing the first completed narrative animation on the big screen.

It can be very nerve-wracking to talk in front of all your fellow students and the teachers, but some students have started to take up the challenge, with a highlight being a thought-provoking and expressively presented speech on the important topic of January 26. Some of our keenest readers had a visit from two of the Librarians from Eastern Library, who showed us all the exciting resources we will be able to access next term.

Rangers Program

As we entered the Waring season (Wurundjeri season name for the Early and Deep Winter) our Ranger Team commenced their first round of placements at Healesville Sanctuary. Three of the four students were new to the program this term. Each student attends the sanctuary for half a day with a 7 am start every fortnight.

Cold temperatures and shorter day lengths make this challenging at this time of year, but the opportunity to work 1 to 1 with a qualified Animal Keeper is the motivation our Rangers need. Each of the girls has made some wonderful connections with both the animals and the Keepers at the Sanctuary and they are keen to return again in term three.

Our other Ranger project this term has included exploring climatic zones around Australia and investigating the plant, animal and insect life found in those zones. We have also explored the concepts of animal enrichment for captive animals, our unique monotremes (egg-laying mammals), our weather station and seasonal changes for growing plants and our bees. Our honey harvest will mean that the girls will have our first Worawa honey on their toast and cereal in Term 3.

Reconciliation Sports Carnival

All in attendance at the Reconciliation Sports Carnival, on the 22nd of May, barely noticed the rain falling steadily throughout the day. The spirit of the day would not be dampened, to what would be one of Worawa’s biggest carnivals yet.

With thirteen schools participating in the netball round robin and four in the football tournament, there was plenty of sporting action to keep everyone entertained. After three outstanding football matches, MLC defeated Worawa in the grand final, taking out the Louisa Briggs Shield for the second year in a row. Best on Ground went to Georgia Frasier, from MLC, and Worawa’s own, Paris Carpio, was awarded the Team Spirit Award. The competitiveness of the netball tournament was evident, despite the dampness of the courts, with players relying on their passing skills and teamwork. MLMC defeated Shelford to take away the Naomi Atkinson Perpetual Trophy. Eucharia Tipiloura, from Worawa, was awarded the Encouragement Award.

The students, from the four primary schools in attendance, were entertained with the many activities to choose from including; The Longest Kick and a Basketball Shooting competition, Traditional Indigenous games run by SportsReady, Athletics activities run by Athletics Australia, mini-football activities conducted by AFL Yarra Ranges and face-painting by the Worawa girls. Guests were entertained with live music from Ruckus and DJ Congo, who kept the students dancing throughout the day.

We were thrilled to have Caitlin Thwaites, superstar netballer from Collingwood Magpies as our special guest. Thanks to Sarah Perkins, the VFLW/AFLW player from the Hawthorn Football Club, SEDA and AFL Umpiring for being on hand to assist with the netball and football umpiring.

Umpire Training

Each Tuesday, for a period of seven weeks, nine Worawa students attended the AFL Umpiring Diversity Academy Program at Worawa Aboriginal College. Joshua James, a leading community umpire from Geelong who occupies the role of Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer with Victoria Police, coached the students in all aspects of AFL umpiring. Josh was assisted by Bob Allen, the Yarra Ranges Goal Umpires’ Coach and Jessie Mulholland, the Eastern Region Female Competitions & Talent Coordinator.

The sessions were split between classroom study and practical on-field umpiring. After the initial seven weeks training, eight girls were picked to umpire the half-time AusKick games at the Sir Doug Nicholls round – “Dreamtime at the G” (Saturday 2 June). This was an exciting conclusion to the program and greatly enjoyed by all the girls who participated. The course also qualifies those students who completed all seven sessions, to umpire junior level matches and contribute units of accreditation towards their future VCAL completion. The success of this program, over the last four years, will continue next year and potentially, will provide pathways into careers in the AFL for students at Worawa.


Worawa has three netball teams playing in the winter season for the Lilydale and Yarra Valley Netball Association at Pinks Reserve each Saturday. The Under 13s team have only lost two games this season and are sitting second on the ladder. They won an action-packed game against the top team by two points earlier in the season. The Under 15s team and the Open team have enjoyed some great wins as well and each week there is an improvement in skills, knowledge of the rules and working together as a team. We look forward with great anticipation to continuing the winter season in Term 3 and watching the girls enjoying their netball.

Worawa Lady Eaglehawks

The College gets numerous complimentary emails about our students from all sporting codes where Worawa has teams registered. It is heart-warming to receive comments as the recent email about the Worawa Lady Eaglehawks by Glenn Stephenson, Coach of the Upwey/Tecoma JFC U16’s. Glen states, “I just want to say what an amazing day it’s been. We loved hosting the Worawa U16’s today at our home ground; your brand of footy was fast and skilful and showed heaps of promise. We hope you all felt welcome at our club; we certainly enjoyed having you. Thanks to Siobhan, your amazing coach; she did an awesome job with her players and staff on the day. We really look forward to the next time we meet; we wish you all the best”.

Worawa has an association with the Hawthorn Football Club Next Generation Academy and we look forward to some exciting developments in the coming months. Commencing in Term 3 we will conduct a six week AFL Nutrition, Health and Fitness Program with VFLW/AFLW player Sarah Perkins.


Worawa has four basketball teams registered with the Kilsyth Basketball Association.

Two U14s, one U16s and one U18s team. Eagles, Hawks Kookaburras and Crows are all playing well this year. We are pleased to have students Paris and Kaitlin help with coaching the Hawks team who are second on the ladder.

The girls are continually improving as a team and we hope to see them in the finals again.

AFL Umpire Uniforms Designed by Worawa Students

Our College enjoyed a whole school excursion to the Kilsyth Basketball Stadium to cheer on two of our three basketball teams, the Kookaburras and the Eagles, who made it to the grand final of the Kilsyth Basketball Association. Despite a stirling effort and the loudest cheer squad ever, neither team took home the pennant, but lots of resolve to try harder next season.

Our Lady Eaglehawks football teams will take to the footy ground next term and girls will undergo a Basic Umpire Training certificate course conducted by AFL Victoria.

Many students play in one of the three College netball teams. Some girls play football, basketball and netball!.

Our school is preparing for our annual Reconciliation Sports Carnival which will be held on Tuesday 22 May.

Kicking Work Placement Goals

Victorian Certificate in Applied Learning (VCAL) – Years 10, 11 and 12

This term VCAL 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 community and beyond.

Two outstanding young women in the VCAL program have secured traineeships with Victoria Police in their Lilydale and Mooroolbark offices as part of the VCAL work placement program. These girls are also completing their Certificate III in Business as part of their traineeships.

The Healesville RACV Resort was another local organisation that participated in this program. The resort manager and departmental managers hosted a day of talks, tours of their departments and lunch for Worawa girls.

They also offered 2 students work placement one day a week in the gym and reception areas of the resort. The feedback about these young women was that they were excellent at their jobs and the resort would like to continue their commitment to both girls’ workplace experiences.

Other VCAL students attended work placement every Wednesday of the term at Badger Creek Primary School as well as Eastern Community Legal Centre.

We are proud of the achievements of our VCAL students and the support they have gained from a range of employers. They have gained this support because of their commitment to being responsible, reliable, hard-working and fostering positive working relationships.

Victorian Aboriginal Remembrance Service

All students and teaching staff attended the annual Victorian Aboriginal Remembrance Service held on Wednesday 31st May. This is a tradition that has been happening at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne since 2007.

Worawa students performed as part of the service. Guests were welcomed by Aunty Dot Peters, a respected Elder of the Healesville community with family connections to Coranderrk. Aunty Dot was instrumental in establishing the Victorian Aboriginal Remembrance Service assisted by Sam Halim the then President of the Healesville RSL. Guests honoured Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who served in our armed services.

Ministers, representatives and former soldiers reflected upon the important role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers provided during the war campaigns of the past and those currently serving. The service acknowledged the courage and bravery of those that have served, brought the community together and allowed the sharing of personal connections to those that have served to create Australia as we know it today. At the conclusion student representatives joined others in laying a wreath at the cenotaph.

EALD at Worawa

This term has been an exciting one in terms of student learning, with the introduction of Personalised Learning Plans for every student. Each student has had a term goal for Speaking & Listening, Reading, Writing and Numeracy. Students have worked hard to focus their learning and practice the skills identified, and we have celebrated many achieved goals throughout the term.

All Literacy teachers participated in an Introduction to Scaffolded Literacy module as part of a participatory action research project. This training helped teachers to identify specific EALD literacy pedagogies that we can implement. Teachers enjoyed many rigorous conversations that tied these learnings back to Respect, Rigour, Relationship and Responsibility.

The EALD program has benefited greatly from our integration aides Grace and Vicki this term. Grace has implemented the Multilit program for reading support, and students are making exciting progress with this one on one attention and assistance.



We are pleased to introduce the newest member of the Worawa community; ‘Molly’. Molly is a Golden Retriever trained as a Therapy Dog. Molly underwent a six-day training course with Lead the Way Institute which focused on training in command obedience to sit, drop, heel, recall, step away and free. Molly also learnt manners that really matter, such as “no jumping’, “no barging out of doors” and “no mouthing”.

Molly, along with Houseparent Rosalina Rizk and Pastoral Care Worker Nancy Silvestroni attended the Lead the Way Institute to undertake training to become a Facility Therapy Dog. Molly underwent training in obedience such as sit, drop, heel, recall, step away and free. Molly also learnt manners that really matter, such as “no jumping’, “no barging “out of doors” and “no mouthing”.

Molly had not attended training prior to Lead the way, so initially, she was very anxious, jumpy and stubborn and would not listen to Rosalina and Nancy. She eventually accepted the training and became a working dog. Molly’s last day of training included an assessment where Molly was graded on her ability to be patted and interact with children and their parents from a karate class and elderly people in a nursing home.

Molly passed with flying colours although she still needs a bit of work on boundaries which staff and students will be involved in her training, next term. Molly had a great week training and learning to be guided by her handlers, Rosalina and Nancy. All have returned with a positive outlook for Molly’s future at Worawa Aboriginal College.

The girls love having Molly as part of the College community and we have welcomed her into the Worawa family. She is still learning The Worawa Way.

Pathways to Womanhood Program

The Pathways to Womanhood (PTW) program is a capability and leadership development program. Students enter into the co-curricular program through interview and their own personal application. PTW highlights learning opportunities and personal goals. The program also provides social, emotional and real-life opportunities for the candidate to mature, self-evaluate and experience a range of cultural experiences. The program culminates in a Debutante Ball; ‘Debutante Dreaming.’

This is not the usual mainstream event, rather it is a space for the expression of Aboriginal Leadership, Mature Adulthood Commencement and Personal Pride. Twelve girls will make their debut at Debutante Dreaming to be held 8 September at Pullman on the Park.

Worawa Walk

The Worawa Walk is an initiative to encourage health and fitness at Worawa. To encourage students to get more activity in their daily life they will be given the challenge of walking from Melbourne to a designated destination in Australia (this year we chose Darwin). To get there the students will walk supervised laps of the oval at designated times during the day. Each lap will equal a determined number of kilometres. As they earn their kilometres they will move along the chosen trail to get to the final destination.

Students who reach the final destination will be given the special Worawa Walk t-shirt. The t-shirt is designed by the winner of the t-shirt design competition held prior to the competition.

There will be an opportunity for students to earn prizes when they reach certain towns on their way to the final destination to encourage students to stay the course. For example, when they reach Ararat they will receive a drink bottle. As an incentive for students to achieve the destination in a timely manner, there will be a prize for the first, second and third place.


  • Melbourne to Darwin is 3,760 kilometres.
  • Each lap is worth 20 km.
  • This total requires students to walk (or run if they choose) 188 laps of the oval. (approx.75km in total).
  • There are 10 weeks in Term 3 for students to achieve the destination.
  • Students would have to walk around 19 laps a week (3-4 laps a day) to get there before the end of term (this equals 7.5km of extra exercise a week).

Sports & Fitness

This past term has been an exciting time for the girls to develop their personal fitness and progress in their favourite sports. The school gym is open daily and the girls are showing inspiring self-motivation and will to get up before school starts and fit in a workout. The gym offers fun and supportive personal training specific to the needs of the girls in recovery, sports and strength conditioning, injury prevention and cardiovascular endurance.

The girls are showing resilience in their sports, with some girls playing all sports offered and sometimes more than one game on the day. They’re showing leadership and sportsmanship, with most of our competition expressing pride in the courtesy of the girls shown to their opponents and each other. We’re looking forward to welcoming our new girls next term into our school and into our sports and well-being program.

Health & Wellbeing

The focus on this semester has been obtaining and maintaining maximum health and fitness. This has been achieved through understanding how a growing teenage body works, how to manage wellness through a holistic approach to nutrition, sleep, exercise and fitness, forming respectful relationships, and developing resilience. The students are able to look at healthy ears and eyes and learn the anatomy and physiology and human movement to support their own health and encourage each other to achieve their health and fitness goals.

The students have enjoyed good health over the semester, enjoyed a variety of sports and excursions to enhance their wellness. Dr Barb our rural General Practitioner, along with dental support, physiotherapy, podiatry, immunisation nurses, councillors, fitness instructor, optometrist, hearing specialists, have all contributed to the students’ well-being.


Download Term 2 Newsletter 2018