Yarning Circle Developed on Campus at Mt Maria College Mitchelton

It’s NAIDOC week, and NAIDOC week is celebrated in July each year, and is marked by celebrations of the culture, history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) peoples. 

ATSI culture and education is alive and well at Mt Maria College Mitchelton with a newly designed and created yarning circle on campus located beside the college oval.

Mt Maria College Principal, Glenn McConville said yarning circles play an important part of ATSI culture and our Yarning Circle has a special place on campus for our students to access and learn more about ATSI history and traditions.

“Yarning circles encourage interactions in groups in a harmonious and creative way and when applied to teaching, enriches student learning experiences,” said Glenn. 

“We worked closely with staff from the Ngutana-Lui Centre and our Landscape Architects to design and develop a sacred place that has the essential elements of Aboriginal yarning circles culture such as water, rock, traditional plants, a fire pit, and seating. There is also scope in the future for students to paint the totems with traditional ATSI art.”

In Term II, students and teachers attended a solidarity immersion experience in Santa Teresa, an Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory located about 80km outside Alice Springs.   The trip provided an unforgettable and moving experience for the group.  Read a reflection on the trip written by Year 12 Student Grace Fowler.   A full story and wrap up of the trip trip can be read here…

In preparation for Mt Maria’s annual National Sorry Day liturgy held in May, Indigenous artist from the Brisbane Catholic Education Ngutana-Lui Centre, Robert Duncan visited Mt Maria College to teach ATSI students how to paint using Indigenous techniques and traditions.

Assistant Principal Religious Education, Juliet Beattie said the students were excited to work with Robert who designed a painting for the students to complete together.

“Students were engaged in the process taking time to paint on the canvas,” said Juliet.

“At the liturgy, the painting was presented to the Mt Maria college community and students were using the clap sticks and sat in a circle around the welcome pole.”

The painting is now hanging in the main Rose Pelletier Building on campus.

After the Sorry Day liturgy, students visited the Ngutana-Lui centre at Inala and learned about various animals and plants that are significant to Indigenous culture as well as stories from the Dreamtime.  They learned how to throw a boomerang and a traditional Indigenous dance.

The Ngutana-Lui Centre was established by Brisbane Catholic Education in 1989 in conjunction with the Aboriginal and Island Catholic Council and the local community.  Students and teachers attending the centre learn and experience the living traditions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people. 

To complete Sorry Day activities, students spent time in the yarning circle assisting with the planting of native plants and were informed about the different plants and how to care for them. 



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