The Law, the Land, the Language and the People PDF Print E-mail
The Law
Worawa students, Lyn, Kevin and Leanne at one of the College's many cultural events.
This is the philosophy upon which Worawa College has based its cultural program.

At Victoria's only Aboriginal controlled college, the indigenous culture is imparted not only as a school subject but as an integral part of everyday life.

Situated on 60 hectares in a rural setting within the beautiful Yarra Valley, Worawa College offers its students comprehensive mainstream education, combined with a contemporary Aboriginal Cultural program.

The residential secondary school caters for students from Year 7 to VCE Year 12, under the control of the Aboriginal Committee of Management, elected by members of the College Board. Worawa was founded in 1983 by Hyllus Maris, Aboriginal poet, writer and author of the widely acclaimed screen documentary Women of the Sun.

Originally established at Frankston, the school relocated in 1985 to "Barak Park" Healesville, on land which had spiritual significance for the Coranderrk area.

There are five main components of the Worawa program:
•    Leadership
•    Academic
•    Cultural
•    Athletic
•    Creative

The cultural curriculum engenders in students a keen interest in their past, through studies in language, traditional dance, music, art and craft. A Language Literacy Centre has been established, producing materials for the language curriculum. Both Yorta Yorta and Gupapuyngu have been taught at Worawa for the past four years. Within this program students are encouraged to write poetry and stories, which are then translated and reproduced through the Centre.
Cultural awareness programs involving mainstream schools and cross-cultural exchanges with visiting indigenous groups are regarded as valuable extensions of the college curriculum. In May this year students welcomed visitors from York College in Pennsylvania.

The Law
Students from York College - Pennsylvania visited the school in June this year.
Beyond the school environment, the students are accustomed to performing and taking on an ambassadorial role. This year the Worawa dancers have performed at Parliament House, at The Grand Hyatt in Melbourne for the "Stepping Out of the Shadows" Luncheon, at the Wurundjeri Festival in Templestowe and at the Australian Reconciliation Convention.

An indigenous plant garden has proven a valuable resource in teaching the traditional use of plants for food, medicine and craft. Their bush tucker garden, incorporates 30 different plant species. Worawa's current principal Eddie Thomson took up his position in February this year.

Since then, the school has been involved in reconciliations with many organisations and individuals, and a new team of teaching staff has been introduced. The administrators are encouraged by the results they have seen since the introduction of these changes, with the benefits reflected in students' reports.

Another initiative has been the provision of conference facilities available for use by outside organizations. With funding being recently received for expansion of school facilities and equipment, those involved in the administration and support of Worawa College are confident of continued success in the provision of quality education within this culturally enriched environment.

If you would like more information about Worawa College, please call on 0359 624 344; fax, 0359 622419 or write to the school at PO Box. 250 Healesville. Vic. 3777.