Cultural Tours – Maclean High School 2022


The 2022 cultural tours were held over three days in March as part of the school’s commitment to ongoing reconciliation and embedding the Yaegl perspective as well as acknowledging Aboriginal Histories and Cultures in the curriculum. The cultural tours are the foundation stone for the River of Learning program designed for Year 7 students in Terms 1 and 2 of the school year, culminating in the Celebration Day showcasing Aboriginal Culture and inclusivity held during Reconciliation Week.

The school was fortunate with the weather: clear skies, light winds, and warm temperatures. Only one tour day was postponed due to heavy rainfall, amidst La Nina conditions and two floods that have been the North Coast climatic experience in 2022. On arrival at Brooms Head students are spoken to by Uncle Ron about the significance of Brooms Head, Red Cliff, and other areas where Aboriginal people would meet and camp for periods coinciding with what was in flower or season. He also explained the significance of the fish traps located at the eastern end of Brooms Head beach and the rock platform edge of the headland and the importance of this site as a source for stone axes and tools. He also spoke of different Aboriginal groups coming to Yaegl land to trade animal skins for stone tools and beach worms.

Morning tea was spent on the Brooms Head headland overlooking Back Beach and Sandon to the south. The students were divided into groups to go through different activities. Uncle Ron and Aunty Glenda talked to the students in situ regarding country, history, stories, and tools, and Maclean High staff led sessions on line drawing of the coastal landscape, geographical skills, and plant identification.

On the third day of the tour, the Year 11 Aboriginal Studies class and their teacher were invited to come out with the students to participate in the activities and to listen to the information regarding Aboriginal people and country that was being given by the Elders on Country. This experience will be invaluable for the students as a major part of the Year 11 course focuses on Aboriginal Peoples’ relationship to the land.

Such days are not possible unless people such as Uncle Ron, Aunty Glenda, Deb Breckenridge, Anjanette Warburton, Krystal Randall, and Sam Kapeen continually share their knowledge and time with students and staff. Such tours have been running at the school for over 15 years which in turn has led to over 1000 students in that time having face-to-face contact with an Elder on Country, something that is unique to our school and our community. It’s projects such as this, recognition of culture and respect for each other that enables reconciliation to be a genuine and evolving process.

Story contributed by Liza Hamilton from Maclean High School. Published in 2022.