Giiyong Bangari

Rocky Hall Preschool recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the custodians of Country and continue to share knowledge with all people who live on Country. Our educators, children and families learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture, connections and interconnectedness between people, place landscapes, waterways, plants, animals and rich, sustainable practices.

Embedding Aboriginal and Strait Islander perspectives in all aspects of the curriculum is a key tool to advance Reconciliation and acknowledge sovereignty. This contributes to National Closing the Gap targets and fulfilling every Australian child’s right to learn about Australia’s First Nations’ histories, knowledge systems, cultures, and languages (EYLF V2.0, p16)

Educators provide opportunities for children to learn about all the interconnected dimensions of sustainability, understanding that sustainability goes beyond learning in nature and being involved in nature conservation. Children are supported to appreciate that sustainability embraces social and economic sustainability – as well as environmental sustainability – and to engage with concepts of social justice, fairness, sharing, democracy, and citizenship. (EYLF V2.0,p18)

Rocky Hall Preschool continues to foster genuine , trusting relationships and partnerships  with the Yuin community. Since 2016 our preschool has invited Elders, leaders and community into the service to share Culture, language, storytelling and Yarning. This has enriched the learning of our children and community.

Yuin leader and language holder Nathan Lygon has provided Aboriginal Culture and language program consistently since 2016.

The preschool has been successful in our application to the Department of Education’s ‘Ninganah No More’ grant to enrich our curriculum with the language of Country and provides strong links with Community. We wanted to share our story and connection to Country and have a language resource that includes a book and video about relationships between Bangadaan the wombat and the children of Rocky Hall Preschool.

We have cared for and followed Bangadaan, who shares her home with our preschool since the drought, prior to the Black Summer bushfires in 2019, that devastated our landscape, bush, animals, plants, eco systems and, sadly, the children and families .

The book celebrates a long close relationship between the preschool, Nathan Lygon, Community and Yanda Biratj (Eden Language Group).

Bangadaan is part of story and history, she has trodden the landscape for millennia and she has adapted to share her home with us at the preschool. She can be found in summer enjoying the cool shade in the sandpit or hiding in the rainbow cubby. There is much excitement when we find her square poo balancing on the back step or a rock: ‘Bangadaan was here last night’.

Each child has chosen an animal that they connect with; they take their name and responsibility for the care of the animal and its habitat. The children, their animal and bangadaan can be found in the pages of our book Giiyong Bangari (Welcome Sun).

Giiyong Bangari is written in the Yuin language of the South coast of NSW. Provisionally called South Coast Language as spoken by Elders, it is based on recordings of fifty four Elders from Eden to Port Kembla. In reviving this language, the Yanda Biratj (Eden Language Group) aims have been to respect the knowledge of the Elders and to breathe life into the sounds of Yuin country.

‘Giiyong Bangari’
‘Giiyong dilwaan’
‘Giiyong ngabumarra punbal’
Giiyong gudjaagalali’

The book has been endorsed by Eden Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Eden Language Group and Twofold Aboriginal Corporation.
We launched the book with Eden Aboriginal Elders, community and families with the children performing a play of the book and sharing their names in language followed by a shared lunch.

Buy Giiyong Bangari
Illustrations by Jan Marie Ridgway.

(QR code for video of book reading and translation.)

The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia – V2.0, Australian Government Department of Education for the Ministerial Council (2022)(P;16, 18)

Story contributed by Jodie Dickinson. Published in 2023.