Ceremonial spears

School hosts Indigenous games carnival

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that the following story contains names of persons who have died.


Salisbury State School celebrated Indigenous culture and learning with the launch of their first Indigenous games carnival on August 24.

Ceremonial spears
Salisbury State School captains were given ceremonial spears as part of the games opening ceremony. Photo: Michael Sleep

The day began with a traditional yarning circle, which is a communal place used by Indigenous people to share stories and information.

The school’s sport houses were renamed for the event to incorporate Indigenous culture.

The house of Griffith became ‘Noonuccal’, named after the political activist, educator and artist, Oodgeroo Noonuccal.

Chandler house became ‘Freeman’, named after Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman, and Nathan house became ‘O’Shane’, named after Indigenous barrister Patricia O’Shane.

The event was organised by Troy Meston, who is doing a PhD candidate in Indigenous Studies Griffith University and who is also a parent at Salisbury State School.

Mr Meston said the event encouraged school students to be more aware of Indigenous culture.

“The Groundskeeper, Ed Williams, the PE teacher and I were the ones who did most of the work with the yarning circle and this day,” Mr Meston said.

Students participated in interactive and educational games throughout the day based around traditional Indigenous activities, such as Takyerra, which involved two students running from one side of a space to the other dodging projectiles being thrown at them by their classmates. The two dodgers were given a club (foam bat) and a shield to defend themselves with.

Other games included Tambil Tambil, Thepan, Koolchee Munhungiang, Kari Woppa, Julhulya and other games such as traditional top spinning and storytelling.

Griffith University Indigenous Studies lecturer, Harry van Issum, took an assortment of historical Indigenous artefacts to the event to show students what they were and how they were used.

Mr van Issum said the event was funded as part of a legacy project known as the Reconciliation in Queensland Schools (RIQS) Program.

The RIQS is a part of the Closing the Gap Program, which is designed to give Indigenous students in regional areas the same opportunities as their city-based counterparts.

“The school has been trying to do more to raise the visibility of Indigenous issues within the school and their principal, Darren Ball, has been willing to do as much as possible to help with this project, but they had no direction,” Mr van Issum said.

“Many parents stepped up and one in particular, Troy Meston, who has three kids attending this school, spearheaded this project and gave the school direction and ideas to achieve and work on.

“This project is the launching point into embedding indigenous issues into the state school system and finally giving indigenous students recognition and the reconciliation they deserve,” he said.

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