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After joining Pembroke students on the annual Marree Aboriginal School / Pembroke School Exchange in 2008, Girton old scholar and Foundation Patron Mrs Margaret Bennett provided the initial seed capital to establish the Indigenous Education

11 November 2019

remainder of sentence used in Summary - @ Pembroke program (IE@P).

Pembroke School then partnered with The Smith Family, providers of the federally funded Indigenous Youth Leadership Program, to provide additional support, mentoring and leadership opportunities for our Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander scholars.

Girton, King’s and Pembroke have long histories of Indigenous enrolments dating back to the 1960s. Since the establishment of IE@P in 2010 more than 30 Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander scholars and families have joined our community.

Current and past scholars hail from the Kimberley, Kakadu, Darwin, North East Arnhem Land, Torres Strait, Lake Eyre and Oodnadatta, Flinders Ranges, Central and Western Deserts, Eyre Peninsula, Coorong and Lower Lakes regions—all bringing with them ancient knowledge, connection and the spirit of their Country, whether it be freshwater, desert or saltwater Country.

Over time lifelong bonds and friendships have been formed with these communities. In 2019 the Marree Exchange delivered wonderful and mutually beneficial outcomes for all involved. The annual trip to Kakadu National Park, hosted by the family of 2019 Head Girl boarder Delise Christophersen for Year 11 IB students studying Environmental Systems and Societies, was a unique and extraordinary experience.

2019 marked the start of the Yothu Yindi Foundation / Pembroke School Bala Rali (partnership). Our Bala Rali with the Gumatj Clan of the Yolngu Nation of North East Arnhem Land has evolved through the ongoing and mutually respectful relationship enjoyed between members of the Yunupingu family and their relatives, Pembroke School and the wider Pembroke community since 2011. Following their cousins Michael (OS ‘15) and Djunmili (OS ‘18) Yunupingu, we welcomed Danielle and Abbey Yunupingu to the school in 2019. They are the first two recipients of the Yothu Yindi Foundation Gumatj Scholarship.

An important component of the Yothu Yindi Foundation Gumatj Pembroke Bala Rali includes the Yolngu Elders and Leaders Residency program. Elders and Leaders will participate regularly in residencies at Pembroke and on Yolngu Country, sharing their knowledge with students and the community through storytelling, music, dance, painting, weaving, healing and language.

The Yunupingu family sponsor the First XVIII Football and Girls First Netball Yunupingu Cups, which are awarded annually at the Pembroke Indigenous Sports Round during and in recognition of Reconciliation Week.

In 2019, Ngarrindjeri artist Mr Cedric Varcoe commenced a painting and weaving residency in the Middle School Arts Precinct. He also worked with the Year 5s during their Leadership Camp at Old Watulunga.

In 2019 we also welcomed First Nation North American Indian Mrs Elizabeth Hollands-Gamble BEd. MBA to Pembroke. She is District Principal, International Education, in British Columbia, Canada. During her visit Mrs Hollands-Gamble discussed future immersion opportunities for Pembroke students across 20 schools in Cowichan District, British Columbia, where Indigenous culture is deeply imbedded in their school curriculum.

An important component of the Yothu Yindi Foundation Gumatj Pembroke Bala Rali includes the Yolngu Elders and Leaders Residency program. Elders and Leaders will participate regularly in residencies at Pembroke and on Yolngu Country, sharing their knowledge with students and the community through storytelling, music, dance, painting, weaving, healing and language.

We hope that this will also result in students from Cowichan District coming to Pembroke for a similar experience. Mrs Hollands-Gamble was thrilled that her trip coincided with Mr Varcoe’s residency, allowing them to meet and discuss their cultural similarities and differences.

We acknowledge and celebrate the many different cultures that interweave to form the fabric of our School; we all benefit from the deep and diverse knowledge that this imbeds in our community. It inspires the values of respect, understanding and tolerance, and teaches us all what it means to truly be a citizen of our everchanging world.

Amanda Bourchier
Director of Community Engagement and Indigenous Education

Past student Michael

Michael Yunupingu (OS ‘15) giving The Acknowledgement of Country at the official opening of The Shipsters Road Project.