Unveiling the Bush Tucker Garden at Bossley Park High School

Bossley Park High School held the opening of our Bush Tucker Garden on Wednesday 1 November 2017.

During the course of the year, students from Bossley Park High School were participating in building the Bush Tucker Garden to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. The effort and collaboration of many students helped to put this garden together, along with help from the teachers who were organising this project.

The Bush Tucker Garden was created with the help of Indigenous students. This was aimed at engaging them with their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and also to provide a fun learning experience. Students had the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. Other classes also had the opportunity to assist, such as the Gifted and Talented (GAT) art class who worked with the Indigenous students to put up a mural made from beautifully painted tiles.

The ceremony began with a warm welcome with an Acknowledgement of Country, recognising Aboriginal culture and history. A beautiful performance by the Indigenous men followed, with an insight into their life story and their speech on Aboriginal culture and history. It gave a great start with a smoking ceremony to cleanse the soul with the burning of the eucalyptus leaves. Everyone got up and walked through the smoke as part of the traditional smoking ceremony. A traditional Aboriginal dance was performed, holding a greater meaning with the story that you look after the land and the land looks after you. The men went on to perform with a didgeridoo, as well as allowing some students to have a go at playing the didgeridoo. A specific song engaged the audience in understanding that the meaning behind the didgeridoo song was about the eagle finding endurance.

After the opening came to an end, certificates were handed out to the students who participated in the overall Bush Tucker Garden project. Victoria Eyke, a BPHS Year 8 student, spoke about how Aboriginal culture must be preserved and protected, saying, “as the language dies off, it takes with it valuable parts of history that will be buried forever… the further we move away from the past the more we lose it”. After that captivating speech, everyone went on to admire the Bush Tucker Garden and were later served with Bush Tucker Garden food made by the Home Economics team.

Mr Fitz, coordinator of the Bush Tucker Garden and BPHS teacher, said: “This was to educate Indigenous students on their culture and it gives a sense of ownership and pride.” In another effort of collaboration from the school, the BPHS Robotics team are designing an automated watering machine for the Bush Tucker Garden. Overall, the ceremony brought a deep connection between Mother Earth and the lessons in the meanings of the songs and dances. The day was a success and people in the school community are still talking about it.

It taught an important lesson that we must always remember and recognise Aboriginal history on this land, and that this land is, was and always will be Aboriginal land.

Story contributed by Danielle Kempton from Bossley Park High School. Published in 2017.