In Week 4, a number of our Aboriginal students across the year levels were invited on a cultural camp to Ikara (Flinders Ranges), where we stayed and explored around Wilpena Pound for the week. Ikara is home to the Adnyamathanha (meaning “rock people”); upon arrival to the Wilpena Pound Resort, we were greeted with a smoking ceremony and were welcomed to their country in good spirits.
Throughout the week, students and staff engaged in a number of activities where we learnt about the Adnyamathanha culture, land, history and geography. On the first day, we undertook a 4WD tour of the “Corridor Through Time”, a pleasant trip exploring the beauties of the Brachina and Bunyeroo Gorges. With local Adnyamathanha guide Vince Coulthard leading the expedition, we learnt about the meanings of rock engravings, spotted yellow-footed rock wallabies, saw the oldest fossils on earth, touched a fossil of what was once the ocean floor and learnt about a variety of bush tucker, including bush bananas and bush tomatoes.
A major highlight was a guided cultural walk to the Old Wilpena Station, where Bruce McKenzie shared stories about the history of Wilpena Pound; how the First Nations peoples prospered prior to invasion, the impact of white settlers in the area and how the Adnyamathanha are not dwelling on the past, but working hard to create a brighter future for their people and culture. As Bruce was a young man, the students were able to relate to his story; he really encouraged the students to think about their place in the world, their culture and how they can make a positive impact.
Whilst we had a number of guided adventures, history lessons and learnings of culture and the dreaming, we also spent our days undertaking hikes around the Pound, engaging in art activities, group work, deadly thinking and even deadlier yarns.
The food was amazing with a range of local ingredients and cuisines filling our bellies each day. Our hosts, the Adnyamathanha, were incredible in welcoming us to their land and sharing their history and culture with us. The weather was kind and the students behaved in an exceptional manner – to the point where our behaviour and conduct was recognised and applauded by the resort staff.
We are extremely grateful and would like to thank the Adnyamathanha for welcoming us to their country, and for being so hospitable during our time there.
~ Mr Michael Scheffler & the Ab Ed Team