Worawa Term 3 Newsletter 2018

Debutante Dreaming

Every Debutante Dreaming Ball is like a new event. Unique, accomplished young women are presented as graduates of our Pathways to Womanhood Program to our esteemed Elders each time. This year was no exception, as 11 couples stood before over 250 people in the Grand Ballroom of Pullman on the Park as they acknowledged their will to walk into young adulthood with pride in who they are, in their achievements in Pathways to Womanhood and most importantly, proud of who they are as young Aboriginal women.

Worawa Ambassadors (students who are continuing into Senior School after previously being presented as Debutantes) opened the evening with the Acknowledgement of Country. This was followed by a beautiful traditional dance performed by junior students from the College. It was a very moving beginning to a premiere night in the life of Worawa College. Our inaugural Pathways to Womanhood Ambassador, Montana Ah-won was interviewed by the emcee, Shelley Ware. Montana spoke of an early life that was harsh and marked by some struggle, but also of her fortunate childhood with her adoptive father. Montana shared an honest account of a life that had both challenges and successes. She encouraged the students to set goals and to keep going, even when things don’t go the way they had hoped. Montana has been Miss Kimberley and Apprentice of the Year WA. Worawa is thrilled to have such an admirable young Ambassador represent the Pathways to Womanhood.


Graduating students, Katelyn Woodhouse and Mary-Cruz Fernandez spoke on behalf of the graduates. These young women spoke of their ambitions and the deep respect they have for their communities and families. It was both gratifying and a matter of pride for Worawa, as they both shared the importance the College has had in their journey towards becoming positive and goal oriented young adults. They also looked to their fellow graduates and expressed the gratitude they felt in finding friends and sisters ‘for life.’ The evening continued as the student couples

were presented to the Elders as young people who had completed the Pathways to Womanhood Program. Then, the students skillfully demonstrated the dances they had learned for the event. Guests were entertained by the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) with talented musician, Jack Hickey providing the musical tone as the guests arrived. Throughout the evening Yorta Yorta guitar virtuoso, Nathanial Andrew and the very talented Naomi Summers shared their musical expertise and ACPA’s talented emerging artists, presented a ‘Soul Revue’.

Debutante Dreaming has deep significance for our community. It marks the progress of this generation and honours the courage and resilience of the original Aboriginal Debutantes, 1949, who held their event in the face of prejudice and exclusion. Worawa honours those first women who made their debut – ‘Because of her, We can!.’

We are proud of our present students who graduated at Debutante Dreaming and wish them a bright future.

Snow Report

Our winter at Worawa has been very cool in temperature this term. As a special whole school excursion our Year 7-10 students were taken to Lake Mountain Ski Resort to experience snow and snow play activities on the 8th August. Lake Mountain is our closest Ski Resort to Worawa and involves a drive through the windy roads that surround our beautiful Yarra Valley.

Each Student was provided with warm ski clothing for the day out. Boots, Trousers, Jackets, Gloves and Beanies to keep them warm and a toboggan to help them get from the top of the hill to the bottom. It was a wonderful day, the snow had fallen the night before leaving the girls with a magical winter wonderland to play in. We created artistic and fashionable snow sculptures, experienced the physics behind the snowball throw and motion of a slide down the hill.

For most of our new students, it was their first snow experience and the whole day was made enjoyable with the cooperation of staff and students. We had a brief snowfall while we were there and the day was a wonderful opportunity for staff and students to connect with each other in a stunning environment.

Fabric Design

A selected group of students were fortunate enough to spend an afternoon under the tutelage of two textile artists from Fitzroy Crossing. Powerful Gooniyandi women, Helen and Cherry enthralled the girls with stories from the community and spoke passionately about girls staying strong in their language and culture.

They demonstrated a range of textile patterns influenced by Japanese Shibori techniques, and created pots of dye using puff mushroom, eucalyptus and snappy gum bark. They also walked students through the processes of using traditional bush medicine ingredients to make soap.

EALD Literacy Group 1

Literacy 1 have been learning about writing biographies. We studied a focus text on Eddie Koiki Mabo and learned about the features that make a strong biographical text.

We then researched Auntie Lois’ life using secondary sources found online, and primary sources: namely an interview with the role model herself! Students collected information that fit under the headings of ‘Early Life’, ‘Education’, ‘Adult Life’, ‘Turning Point’ and ‘Major Achievements’ and used this structure to create an extended piece of writing. This has been a fantastic achievement for students who previously doubted their ability to write in full paragraphs. Some students completed this task and then used the opportunity to reflect on their own education, writing a paragraph about ‘both ways’ of education in their lives: knowledge gained from family, community and culture; and the knowledge gained in western education settings.

The students have all done themselves proud in articulating their learning in multiple intellectual traditions.

Health at Worawa

This term the girls were all seen by Optometrists and several girls are now wearing glasses to support their reading. Hearing tests were also carried out and some students further reviewed by a Ear Nose and Throat specialist.

All students were seen and treated by the Dentist, either through the dental van or specialist Orthodontic Services. Immunisation Services visited to school to make sure every girl’s immunisation was up to date and also giving flu injections. There were very few chest or head colds and no influenza. The girls are given supplements including Vitamin C, Zinc, magnesium, Vitamin D. Dr Barbara Hoare visited and treated students and made referrals where required. Luckily there were not any significant sport injuries.

The girls level of fitness, diet, good sleep patterns and training meant that the students were able to play several sports and maintain their stamina. Their height and weight is recorded as they frequently ask if they have grown since last term.

They are keenly interested in their own health and wellbeing and beginning to see the benefits of good diet, training and a good night’s sleep.

Worawa Economy

This term the students had the exciting opportunity to create their own mini-economy; the Worawa Economy. This program teaches and establishes an understanding of financial literacy and responsibility. It started with a competition to design the Worawa Money to be used throughout the program which was won by the simple yet creative designs of Jemma Matthew. The students then applied for jobs which were completed during Maths, STEAM and Homework Club. The jobs include Banker, the Technology Supervisor and Messenger. Some students have enthusiastically taken up the challenge and revelled in the added responsibility in the classroom. In addition to receiving their monthly salary for their job, the students earned money by displaying the four Worawa ways of Relationship, Responsibility, Respect and Rigour. Through receiving a salary and paying expenses (such as rent, bills and fines) before the monthly auction, the students are learning integral budgeting and life skills. The term ended with a boisterous celebration as the auctioneers did an amazing job selling the prizes to their fellow students. The Worawa Economy will continue throughout the year preparing the students for different financial situations they may face in the future.

Celebrating Culture

We celebrated Culture on our beautiful Dreaming Trail at the end of August. The event was an opportunity to celebrate culture through the arts, textile crafts, dance, food and sharing knowledge. During the morning the girls divided into groups to prepare foods, create art pieces and experiment with natural dyes. A roving team of student photographers and journalists captured the day along with a professional photographer. Our afternoon focus shifted to the Central Desert Region, with many of the students feeling pride in being able to share the stunning landscapes and community culture from the region. With all of us feeling well fed on spectacular chilli crab, mussels, kangaroo stew and tails, damper, rice and potatoes we then sat and watched the traditional dance team who shared their traditional dances with us. We would like to express a special thanks to them. As we head into the changing seasons and the warmer weather arrives we remember the Aboriginal terms for this new season, Poorneit (tadpole season) and Buath Celebrating and sharing Culture is at the core of Worawa College. We are proud of who we are.


Whether it has been designing houses and furniture and then making 3-dimensional models or finding out more about the right to safety in the workplace, the VCAL ladies have continued to kick goals this term. The biggest challenge, however, has been learning to become self-motivated and self-directed learners.

Learning through teacher direction is a way of learning that most students have perfected by year 10. In preparation for the workforce, further study and independent living students have been challenged to begin the process of learning how to work with greater independence.

This has included time management, peer negotiation and the presentation of ideas, opinions and arguments to one another and to decision makers.

VCAL students have faced some significant time management challenges this term with work placement, study, debutante and other events preparation, commitments; and they have continued to develop the skills and face the challenges involved in being formal and informal student leaders at Worawa. They are learning the personal development skills to ensure they are resilient in the face of all challenges they may face now and in the future. This term students have also made more firm commitments to study for 2019 with term 4 seeing concrete future plans being put in place.

This includes the development of networking skills, course enquiries and practising scholarship applications. Students have continued to study for their driver learner permits in their respective States.

We are looking forward to term 4!

Deadly Sisters of Worawa

Indigenous Literacy Day 2018 was a day to remember for Worawa’s very own newly published authors. Earlier this year, 13 girls spent a week of workshops with Dr Anita Heiss and Shelley Ware, producing and editing a range of original pieces of writing, along with their own artworks, to be composed into a glossy, beautiful book.

Deadly Sisters of Worawa will be shared with remote communities and schools, along with the girls’ families and friends, public libraries and the many supporters of the College. The Indigenous Literacy Foundation, the Epic Good Foundation and the Hawthorn Football Club Foundation made the publication and launch of the book possible at Federation Square, right in the heart of Melbourne, in front of more than 300 people.

Anita and Shelley introduced each of the authors individually and sang the praises of the students including the special traits that helped produce a remarkable book. Cheyenne Hayes and Jessica Byford, two of the student authors, read from their newly launched book. Cheyenne spoke passionately about her dream of finishing school at Worawa, having a career, and becoming a politician in Australia. She spoke about her environmental concerns for the land and how she wants to be a voice of change for Mother Nature. Jessica read from their book and told the audience, “Speak up, you’re not alone, we are all students calling Australia our home.”

Our incredibly talented students soon became the centre of much praise and attention, signing many copies of the book and having their photographs taken by excited new fans, children and adults alike. The girls are looking forward to being able to take their very own copies of their book home soon.

Unique Experience in Steam

This term we were incredibly lucky to have 3 ladies from Fitzroy Crossing Marnin Studio visit Worawa to conduct a natural dye workshop with students from the Textiles elective. Indiana Brown wrote about the experience.

‘The ladies from Fitzroy Crossing Marnin Studio came to school and taught us different ways to dye fabric and how to make different patterns on the fabric. They used bush herbs to create the different dye colours and patterns. We used eucalyptus leaves (bilindi) to make the fabric a grey colour, puff mushrooms (langa) to make it yellow, and sappy gum (dalngadi) to make the fabric orange. We also got to make homemade soap, also made from bush herbs. They said that this type of soap is really good for clearing pimples and acne.

The girls really enjoyed cutting up the gel and stirring up the soap mixture it was really fun. The ladies from Fitzroy Crossing are really talented and have really creative minds to have come up with these spectacular patterns and colours. I mostly enjoyed making the patterns, dying the fabric, and unwrapping the finished dyed fabric and looking at all of the beautiful patterns and colours.’

Experiences like these provide students with an opportunity to learn from the knowledge of other communities as well as share skills they have been taught by their family. It also emphasises the important place traditional Aboriginal knowledge holds alongside the mainstream skills we are teaching in STEAM.


Worawa Aboriginal College had a very successful winter season in 2018 with 31 students playing in 4 teams. They played rain, hail or shine, mostly rain, under the expert coaching of Emily Treeby. All the girls enjoyed the sport and were keen to practice, and at the end of the season, under 13s were runners-up, after putting up a great fight and losing by only 2 points.

From their season’s work, students were selected to try out for representative teams for LYVNA and the following girls have been asked to take part: Milena, Dinga, Indiana, Shakeyisha, Shontay, Lizzie and Eucharia. As part of the program and maintaining their fitness and netball skills, they will also follow a good gym and nutrition program.

Sports Academy

This term the Sports Academy completed the Leadership Program run by Priscilla from Athletics Australia. The coaching program is aimed at giving students the ability to teach athletic skills to young children as well as building on their leadership and communication skills.

Every Wednesday the students would spend two lessons developing their abilities in different aspects of coaching and leadership. The lessons included communication, coaching styles, class management and program design. They students spent time at Yarra Ranges athletic track learning proper techniques for discus, shot put and long jump. The conclusion of the program involved the Sports Academy students running the grade 3 and the grade 4 physical education classes at Haileybury College in Keysborough. Together they developed a program that they delivered in two fifty minute classes. The students at Haileybury had a great time learning different games and they enjoyed having the Worawa students participating when they weren’t leading the game.

The skills they have learned during this program have increased their confidence and revealed some promising future coaches and leaders. The Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office of Indigenous Affairs are looking to take this program nationwide and it has been very exciting to be part of the pilot program.

The Glass Jar Art Competition

This term, a competition creating a design to be painted on glass jars has proved popular with the students. The girls were asked to sketch a design that best reflects their Aboriginal culture. The judging panel was pleasantly surprised by the number of beautiful entries and much deliberation took place in choosing the winner and the runners up. So difficult in fact that the judging panel selected two winners for the first place prize. We congratulate both Shakeyisha Mohoney and Paris Carpio for winning the competition. Rose Archie was runner up and Michelle Mosquito came in third place. The winners received prize money while the place holders received a gift bag filled with various goodies. Congratulations to all the girls who participated in this competition. The winning entries will be used for tea-light candles in the office.


RMIT Vice Chancellor Visits Worawa

Worawa has entered into an MOU with RMIT University. Until recently the College’s connection to RMIT has generally been around transactional services and the relationship each partnership has been brokered on, for example using student art in textile and fashion design.

Both organisations are looking to grow and nurture the relationship to a more substantial partnership. Worawa students have visited RMIT’s Ngarara Willim to explore pathways. Specific education and training skills for consideration include arts organisation management and operation skills, business, hospitality and management, textile and fashion. Worawa has a strong visual arts program and the College is seeking the opportunity for students to work with visual arts, arts management, and curatorial students to investigate and apply contemporary gallery trends and practices. Worawa has an interest in having RMIT School of Education students undertake placements at Worawa College as part of their internships on a more formal basis to develop knowledge of Aboriginal iconography and contribute to the development of cultural competency.

To seal the signing of a formal MOU, Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean recently visited the College accompanied by Emeritus Professor, Dr Martin Comte and Dep PVC, Ngarara Willim, Mark McMillan. The visit included walking The Dreaming Trail, a visit to classrooms, viewing art exhibited in our beautiful gallery and coffee served by student baristas.



Download Term 3 Newsletter 2018