Yarning Circle Ceremony

On Friday 19th November 2021 Hilton Primary School celebrated the completion of the enhancement of our Hilton Primary School Yarning Circle.

We were privileged to welcome some very Special Guests to participate in our ceremony.

To acknowledge that our school is on Whadjuk  Noongar Boodja Aunty Betty Garlett, Noongar Elder and Traditional Owner, performed a Welcome to Country. Aunty Betty was accompanied by Grant Rowsell on Yidiki and Ken Hayward on Didgeridoo.

A History of the Hilton Yarning Circle was presented by Aunty Lynn (previous AIEO at Hilton PS) & Uncle Ossie Ford. A Smoking Ceremony was conducted by Will Hayward & Aunty Betty with peppermint & sandalwood.

“The Smoking Ceremony is recognition of starting ‘afresh’ and acknowledging past and future Elders and community members. It aims to spiritually cleanse the space in which the ceremony takes place, to allow peace and recognise the importance of meeting.”

We enjoyed the Spirit dance, the Totem dance and Numbi, with  performances from talented Indigenous dancers William Hayward, Conway Channery (JCCA) & Malachi Hayward, one of our Year 6 students.

Everyone at the ceremony joined in for Numbi, led by the dancers. All staff, students & community moved and danced in a clockwise direction around the Yarning Circle. The movement represents our journey forward together, our Plan for Growth on Whadjuk Noongar Boodja.

Cath Fitzhardinge, Grounds Committee Chair, provided us with some details about the consultation, design & enhancement process.  The goal for this project was to enhance the existing Yarning Circle, by maintaining a reference to the community who made it approximately 15 years ago; by enhancing the connection to the natural surroundings either side of the yarning circle; and offering opportunities for our current students to connect to the space and to Noongar culture by re-painting the six seasonal poles. 

The Ground’s Committee’s hope is for this beautiful space to be used as much as possible, as a sustainable outdoor classroom, as a gathering space, or simply as a place to sit and connect to the Whadjuk country for many years to come.

We joined together to sing Wanjoo and We Are One, led by our music teacher Ms Annique Buckland.  This was followed by the lighting of the grass trees by Aunty Betty, Aunty Lynn, Uncle Ossie, Dr Carmel Bochenek, and Mrs Judy Hendrickse (Deputy Principal at JCCA).

We acknowledge the ancestors and pay respect to the land, waters and sea of Whadjuk Noongar Boodja. The smoke is believed to have healing and cleansing properties. Fire stimulates growth. This Ceremony at Hilton Primary School represents ‘growth’ of our community, together as One.

We are Hilton people, developing our school culture on Noongar country.

A project like this involves many months of consultation, organisation and action and many, many people were involved.  We sincerely thank everyone who has been involved in the Yarning Circle project over the years, from establishment to enhancement, and all who joined us for our ceremony.

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