Late last month the Certificate III in Guiding students spent four days on Bruny Island where four students took on their leadership skills to guide their classmates to Murrayfield Station – an iconic farming property, operated by the weetapoona Aboriginal Corporation.
On arrival the leader’s stepped aside for their teachers Bruce, Alex and Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Bill who journeyed us back in time to the beginning of Bruny Island and to learn of its original owners; the Aboriginal people.
The teachers brought to light the dark history of this land, drawing focus to the First Tasmanians and how their lives were changed forever. We learnt of the dramatic encounters with the First Visitors and how this race was led close to extinction with the British invasion. Uncle Bill interpreted cultural sites and artefacts to our group, we learnt of stone tools and quarries amongst other markers in the landscape and grew to understand their importance to Aboriginal people of today. The longevity and adaptability of the Aboriginal people was put into perspective as we drew a timeline into the sand, which stretched back over 40,000 years.
Towards the end of our trip, the learning’s of our confrontational history was reinforced through an interactive exercise “From Gumnuts to Buttons“, which tore away not only at our papers, but our hearts.
We left Murrayfield, changed people, understanding the long and rich culture of the Aboriginal people, recognising the brutal history they have endured and how we, together move forward as a society. It is with thanks to our teachers Bruce, Alex and Uncle Bill for taking us on this confronting, yet insightful journey.