Koomal Dreaming teaches students Indigenous history

Students from St Thomas More played percussion to a didgeridoo beat.
Students from St Thomas More played percussion to a didgeridoo beat.

THE year four students of St Thomas More were given a once in a lifetime insight into the lives of the first nation people of Australia last week.

Josh Whiteland of Koomal Dreaming visited the class to discuss some of the ways Indigenous Australians utilise the outdoors to survive without leaving a lasting impact on the environment.

Mr Whiteland described travelling around the area with only the essentials, highlighting the use of timber, rocks and fire sticks.

“For thousands of years this was the only way fire was lit,” he said.

Mr Whiteland highlighted the use of each tool laid upon the ground, from various sized boomerangs to handmade skinning knives created from rock and pearl, oyster and scallop shells.

He described the boomerangs to being shaped to fly differently for different purposes, mainly to hunt different animals such as marron, kangaroos and emus.

 “My sister has eaten all of that!” one student exclaimed.

“We never had a bow and arrow,” Mr Whiteland said.

“We only ever took what we needed.”

The boys took part in a dance that copies the moves of a kangaroo.

The boys took part in a dance that copies the moves of a kangaroo.

Mr Whiteland discussed with students sustainable farming techniques utilised by Aborigines, usually established by their six season calendar.

The seasonal calendar was created to preserve animal species and only take what was in the greatest supply, Mr Whiteland said.

“The land provides you with everything,” he said.

Students were informed at their age, traditionally the boys would receive a small shield and spear.

”Oh yeah!” was the resounding call from the class.

Mr Whiteland also described the musicality of a number of the handmade creations.

Music was a means to carry information through the generations, he said,

He mimicked the sounds of kangaroos hopping, cockatoos calling and frogs croaking much to the students delight.

The girls showed their skills at being emus.

The girls showed their skills at being emus.

The whole class became involved in a song and dance, with some students providing percussion to the sounds of the didgeridoo while the boys created a kangaroo dance, with the girls copying the actions of the emu.

Dancing was a highlight, with students wanting more.

“Can we do it again, but with paint on ourselves?” one dancer asked.