Margie Thomas

Silence was broken on Thursday 27th May when school staff and students from Yandoit, Bullarto and the Dharma primary schools gathered at the Daylesford Community Park for the Friends of Cornish Hill’s final one day workshop. The workshop was named Bu-Ka Lo-Wurru, meaning breaking the silence. Being the first day of Reconciliation week, this gave Friends an opportunity to honour the Djaara people. Believing that reconciliation is a journey for all Australians, the Friends wanted to recognise this day, to make a difference in moving forward and breaking the silence which surrounds the history of loss for all First Nations people.

Welcome to Country and Smoking ceremony was conducted by highly respected Djaara Elder Aunty Marilyne Nicholls after which the students worked through three rotations each with a different activity. These activities included creating simple string and stick mobiles, discussion about the plants and animals that call Cornish Hill home as well as making models of some of these animals from straw and bound with wool. For the final activity, each student created their own symbol of recognition – a clay handprint made from a slurry of clay gathered from Cornish Hill.

These workshops have been a feature of the Friends work for over 5 years and the hope is that the local schools will take over the organisation.

Principal of the Dharma School, Jen Willis said, “What an absolute delight it has been for the children of the Dharma School to participate in such engaging and rich learning experiences with the Friends of Cornish Hill. The environmental, cultural and peer learning programs that they have experienced have been such a valuable addition to their experiential learning. We are so grateful for such a meaningful community offering.”

Margie Thomas is a Moorabool Shire resident who was, for 12 years, the Chair of the Friends of Cornish Hill.