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Indigenous Literacy Day – HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?, ILF for RIG News, Sept. 2013 – School Gardens Feature

2014 January 3
by anthea

Intro: Special Feature – School garden news from around the network – Anthea Fawcett

Different types of school gardens across the country are providing fun, educational activities for students and their school communities to get together to learn, try and do new things. Garden based activities can help to encourage healthy diets and lifestyles, increase school participation and provide teachers and students with enjoyable outdoor learning activities that can enhance learning outcomes in science, literacy, numeracy and many other subjects via the new Australian curriculum’s cross curriculum priority areas.

Children aged 16 years and under represent up to 50% of the population in most remote communities. Many of these communities often have poor access to reliable, affordable fresh food – so school gardens can often help to seed community benefits well beyond the school gate. As schools head to the holidays, we feature stories from different places that show schools growing good things in many different ways.

Tjuntjuntjara and Sydney students got the chance to meet each other and enjoy the 'great book share' at the Sydney Opera House for Indigenous Literacy Day.

Tjuntjuntjara and Sydney students got the chance to meet each other and enjoy the ‘great book share’ at the Sydney Opera House for Indigenous Literacy Day.

  Indigenous Literacy Day celebrates How Does Your Garden Grow? at the Sydney    

  Opera house

Students from the Tjuntjuntjara community were the stars of Indigenous Literacy Day at the Sydney Opera House on September 4, reading stories from their new book How Does Your Garden Grow? and performing their catchy songs ‘Spinifex Country’ and ‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’ for the large audience.

Organised by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and hosted by Natalie Ahmat from NITV this special event brought students from Tjuntjuntjara Remote Community School together with students from over 18 Sydney schools to celebrate literacy, gardening and a ‘Great Book Swap’.

 Can you imagine travelling from far away, to perform in the Joan Sutherland Theatre foyer at the Opera House, in front of more people than live in your community?! The students did an amazing job – it was a joyful privilege to be in the audience to enjoy their stories and songs.

Tjuntjuntjara Remote Community School is located in the Great Victoria Desert, close to the border with South Australia, north of the Nullarbor Plain and 680 Kilometres north-east of Kalgoorlie. It was established in 1985, when people moved into the region to follow a traditional lifestyle and maintain cultural identity and values. Tjuntjuntjara Community is the home of the Spinifex People, a million worlds away from bustling Sydney, and is considered to the most remote community in Australia.

The Tjuntjuntjara school organic vegetable patch was established by the school’s dedicated students, Principal and teachers. Their book is the result of a wonderful collaboration with a fellow student in Melbourne, 13 year old Lachie Coman. Lachie visited the community and inspired them to write their garden stories and brought the stories back to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation to publish. As an Environment Captain at his school, Lachie organised for his school to fundraise and send a package of gardening supplies and tools to the Tjuntjuntjara school garden. When Lachie was invited to visit them, he decided to share his passion of reading and writing stories and enlisted support from ILF’s ambassador, Andy Griffiths. How Does Your Garden Grow? is the result – a collection of the stories written by Tjuntjuntjara students during Lachie’s 2011 visit.

Indigenous Literacy Day has been running since 2007 and is celebrated nationally across Australia by thousands of school children who hold Great Book Swaps and other events.

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is a national charity initiated by the Australian Book Industry. In the past four years they have sent over 100,000 culturally appropriate books and resources to more than 200 remote communities. ILF conducts numerous projects, including translations into first language of children’s books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and publish community literacy projects, written by children and/or community. In 2013 ILF have published books for Cherbourg, Thursday Island, Warburton and Tjuntjuntjara in WA and will also publish two books for Yakanarra Community School (the Kimberleys) translated into language (Yakanarra Dogs & A Yakanarra Day ) and a book from Nyrripi in the Northern Territory.

Natalie Ahmat from NITV was MC for the day.

Natalie Ahmat from NITV was MC for the day.

Indigenous Literacy Day at the Sydney Opera House on September 4. Left: Natalie Ahmat, NITV, was MC for the event. 

Information and images kindly provided by Karen Williams, Executive Director, Indigenous Literacy Foundation

Below: ILF Ambassador David Malouf with one of the students from Tjuntjuntjara School.  

Yes, I (Anthea) am starstruck...David Malouf, ILF Ambassador at the ILF How Does Your Garden Grow? celebration.

Yes, I (Anthea) am starstruck…David Malouf, ILF Ambassador at the ILF How Does Your Garden Grow? celebration.


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