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Port Stephens groups connecting community to culture


Five local groups will share in $26,712 under Port Stephens Council’s Aboriginal Projects Fund to empower the Indigenous community.

Anna Bay Public School ($6,000), Midnight Dreaming Studio ($6,000), Capital Chemist Raymond Terrace ($6,000), Salamander Childcare Centre ($5,000) and Seaham Pre-school ($3,712) were among the 2022-23 recipients.

The successful ventures range from connecting children to country, the creation of digital resources and keeping culture alive through song, dance, art and products.

One of the beneficiaries, Salamander Childcare Centre, will use the grant to coordinate its Wayapa Program.

It plans to engage the services of Sarah Corrigan from Rainbow Crow Cultural Collective to host weekly sessions with multiple groups of children at the facility, featuring movement, stories and walks.

“By having Sarah at the centre, we’ve enhanced our curriculum,” Salamander Childcare Centre director Daniel Freeman said.

“This program is helping to embed Aboriginal perspectives into the learning projects the children are already undertaking.

“Sarah uses their interests to create authentic opportunities to learn about culture in context, closing the gap and working towards reconciliation.

“It’s important for us that cultural education isn’t presented through only structured group times that take them away from the context of what they do best, which is play.

“Thanks to the Aboriginal Projects Fund, we can continue to have Sarah be a part of our day.”

Port Stephens mayor Ryan Palmer said council enjoyed a strong relationship with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

“We’ve collaborated on a variety of projects, which promote understanding of Aboriginal culture and celebrates their contribution to our community,” he stated.

“In 2002, we established the Aboriginal Projects Fund on the recommendation of our Aboriginal Strategic Committee, which has been a huge success.

“We’re proud to support community groups and schools through the initiative to continue to empower the Aboriginal community in Port Stephens through the delivery of programs, events and other activities.

“I can’t wait to see these five projects come to life thanks to the vision of these organisations.”

The Aboriginal Projects Fund 2022-23 recipients:

Anna Bay Public School: Supportive safe space for Aboriginal students

  • In partnership with Aboriginal students and families, the project aims to transform a designated room into an environment that connects students to culture and provides a safe space where children feel their cultural identity is supported. The space will create a welcoming environment for community and their cultural group to meet with cultural educators.

Midnight Dreaming Studio: Midnight Dreaming Creative Showcase

  • This project will help the Aboriginal community through providing digital resources to keep culture alive and strong through song lines, stories, dance, art and products. It will include working with a wide range of students in the Midnight Dreaming Studio dance and school program building sustainable Aboriginal dance programs into schools. The project will fund the purchase of an iPad Pro and a professional digital camcorder to allow the creation of digital cultural pieces.

Capital Chemist Raymond Terrace: Aboriginal artwork for shop entrance

  • Capital Chemist Raymond Terrace is working in partnership with Wahroonga Aboriginal Corporation and Awabakal Medical Service to deliver a health program where visiting Allied Health services utilise the chemist’s consulting rooms free of charge. This project will fund the creation of Aboriginal artwork at the entrance to create a safe and welcoming cultural space for Aboriginal clients.

Salamander Childcare Centre: Wayapa Program

  • The project proposes to engage the services of Sarah Corrigan from Rainbow Crow Cultural Collective to run weekly sessions with multiple groups of children at the centre. The Wayapa Program focuses on connecting children to Country through movement, stories and walks. The program will also focus on the wellbeing of all children.

Seaham Pre-school: Connecting to Culture

  • The project aims to increase the children’s, families’ and educators’ knowledge and understanding of Worimi culture through learning sessions with Murrook Culture Centre. The sessions will share with dance, language, art, song, traditions, food, culture and history.

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