Through Their Eyes

The book, Through Their Eyes, promotes local Indigenous stories of courage, survival and significance. It is being created by twenty Indigenous students at the Albury Wodonga Community College as part of the ‘We are Awesome’ project which is funded by the Victorian ACFE Division of the Department of Education and Training. Through Their Eyes will be launched as part of the Write Around the Murray Festival opening event.

Some of the 'We are Awesome' group with Wiradjuri Elder, Aunty Nancy Rooke

We are Awesome

The Albury Wodonga Community College has, through various programs, supported over 3,000 disengaged learners during the last decade. ‘We are Awesome’ is one more pathway to assist people to reconnect to education and is based on 'learning by doing’.

The local region has an active Indigenous community and higher than average Indigenous population. Unemployment rates are high (26%) and education acquisition very low (only 66% in pre-school to secondary school). However, as with all communities, there are amazing stories of courage, survival and significance. Many of these stories are often not captured and people’s lives and achievements not shared.

The ‘We are Awesome’ project aims to capture and record significant local Indigenous history. Coach Derek Murray is working with twenty Indigenous teenagers to create a book using stories from local Indigenous Elders while encouraging the students themselves to:

  • demonstrate ‘value’ in their culture
  • recognise importance in history
  • discover and build a relationship from the present to the past

It provides learners with the opportunity to study, research data, set up goals/plans, interview community leaders, design and create a book, engage in teamwork, share  ideas and problem-solve.

Through Their Eyes Artwork

The creation of artworks has proven a significant aspect of this project with the students excitedly taking to drawing and painting as powerful storytelling tools. Having been given the opportunity to learn from the Elders in the course of hearing and collecting their stories, the process of making artworks has allowed them to develop their own interpretations of those stories and take ownership and pride in their own creations.

Jackson and mentor Derek Murray display the recently completed cover artwork for Through Their Eyes.

  • The blue strip represents both sides of the river
  • Red circles with the symbols around it represents the 20 students coming together to work on the project
  • Arrows represent the 10 elders who will be sharing their stories
  • Boomerangs show stories coming back
  • Eye is in the centre
  • Coloured track represents the Community College, the place where people are gathering