Yanchep students help create Yarning Circle

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The Yanchep Yarning Circle will help connect students to the school as well as their heritage and culture.

ABORIGINAL artist Sharyn Egan and local cultural consultant Derek Nannup have shared their culture, stories and knowledge with Yanchep Secondary College students to create a new Yarning Circle at Kalbarri Park in Yanchep.

The Yarning Circle features six jarrah poles painted with native animals, plants and Aboriginal symbols to reflect the six seasons in the Noongar seasonal calendar – Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang.

An important stage of the project was a design workshop, where Mr Nannup and Ms Egan taught the students about each of the six Noongar seasons and the animals, plants and natural activities they could expect to see during the transition between seasons.

The students then developed the designs for the poles and participated in a painting day, adding their painted handprints to represent the role of Aboriginal people as carers of Country.

Yanchep Secondary College Aboriginal Islander education officer Victor Woodley said the Yarning Circle would be a landmark for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students, past, present and future, to be proud of.

“Each handprint that has been put on a post coincides with the month of the student’s birthday, then each year the next group of Year 7 Indigenous students will place their handprint on a post that coincides with their birthday – that’s the connection to Country,” Mr Woodley said.

“The Yarning Circle represents a place where the students involved can feel a sense of pride and ownership, and something that connects the students to the school as well as their heritage and culture.”

Yanchep Secondary College student Tyler (12) said adding his handprint was significant because it showed he was part of that generation.

“The Yarning Circle is important to the students because it is a place to be free and have a yarn, and it helps young people learn how to respect the environment,” he said.

Wanneroo deputy mayor Brett Treby said the new Yarning Circle was the perfect place for the community to come together to celebrate the city’s Aboriginal heritage and to learn more about Aboriginal culture.

“The city is committed to creating an inclusive community with strong relationships across cultures based on mutual respect and understanding, so that all people are valued and able to participate fully in our community,” Cr Treby said.

“This Yarning Circle provides a place for the local community to gather to talk, educate and build respectful relationships, and is a wonderful addition to Yanchep.

“The students have done an absolutely outstanding job, and the city is pleased to have been able to provide them with the opportunity to take part in this community-focused project.”