KSHS community education counsellor Toni Phillips-Petersen with students Cheniqua Barkle (Year 7), Jemma Van Der Kolk (Year 9), Jorja Hall (Year 9) and Tahnyalla Saltmer (Year 9) inside the new Yarning Circle

December 9, 2020

An overgrown piece of land near the Toomey Street entrance to Kingaroy State High School has become a Yarning Circle, thanks to the efforts of the school’s Indigenous students and the generosity of sponsors.

KSHS community education counsellor Toni Phillips-Petersen said the project started to take place in Term 3 with Year 10 students taking part in the “Schools To Work” program.

All Indigenous students from Years 7-12 then became involved.

Large sandstone blocks were placed in a circle on the block, which was cleared of weeds.

There was a lot of raking and shovelling by the students!

Native plants have also been planted in a “cultural garden” being developed near the circle, and a mural is planned for next year.

Toni said there were nearly 150 Indigenous students at Kingaroy State High School.

They get together regularly to discuss what’s been happening and listen to guest speakers.

Toni said it had been a very community-based project, with support coming from Stanwell, Landcare, the Bunya Mountains Murri Rangers, Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service, Bunnings, the Barambah Environmental Educational Centre, Community Elders and the University of Southern Queensland.

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Yarning In Wondai …

The Yarning Circle which has been built at Forest View in Wondai (Photo: Darling Downs Health)

Wondai community members recently joined with residents and staff of the Wondai Hospital and Forest View Residential Aged Care Unit to create a yarning circle of their own.

Darling Downs Health Director of Indigenous Health Rica Lacey said the Forest View Yarning Circle was a great example of a community working together.

“For countless centuries yarning circles have been a place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to come together, to share ideas and knowledge, and to pass down lore and customs to following generations,” she said.

“It’s wonderful to be able to share this aspect of the world’s oldest living culture with the people of Wondai, and particularly the residents of Forest View.

“Set amongst shady trees and native plants in the residents’ recreation area, this yarning circle is a place where all are welcome to sit, relax and speak and listen from the heart.

“I’d like to acknowledge Wondai staff including Aaron Clancy, who co-ordinated the project, Forest View director of nursing Janine Webster, operational staff including Carol Burgess, Judith Buchanan, Gayle Alberts and Stephanie Mickelo, Indigenous liaison officer Andrew Townes, our gardeners, the Wondai Hospital Auxiliary and many local volunteers.

“Everyone involved put in one hundred per cent to get the yarning circle finished in time for this year’s NAIDOC celebrations, so that was great effort.

“The project was completed using locally sourced products and the enormous talents of local artists, and that’s something were very proud of. We hope the residents find it a welcoming and enjoyable place to sit and talk for many years to come.”

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… And In Murgon

South Burnett councillors have approved a request from a Murgon resident to build a Yarning Circle in Gore Street, Murgon.

The plan is for the circle to be built on a vacant block of Council-owned land.

The proposal was discussed at a committee meeting held on December 2.

The resident proposes that the Yarning Circle will be used by youth from Murgon and Cherbourg, providing a safe place where they can interact with one another.


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