Bush Tucker Garden takes storytelling outside the classroom

Students at Northmead Public School will learn about Indigenous culture, language, stories and more as part of the school’s new Bush Tucker Garden, which will officially open on Saturday, 1 September at 2pm.

The initiative was funded by a $40,000 grant from City of Parramatta’s Stronger Communities Fund with support from the NSW Government. The community grants program offered eligible groups and individuals whose services or activities benefit the Parramatta community.

“Council is incredibly proud to support the local school community through wonderful and engaging projects such as this. The Bush Tucker Garden will provide current and future students with the opportunity to learn and grow beyond the classroom,” Lord Mayor Cr Andrew Wilson said.

“By sharing the stories and culture of our traditional land owners alongside lessons on indigenous plants and how they can be used, children will gain a broader understanding of our local history and the world around them.”

The garden will serve as an integrated learning space for Northmead Public School students, as well as children and young members of the wider community. Designed in collaboration with first nations groups and the school’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee, it is a dynamic and vibrant learning space that aims to connect with both indigenous and non-indigenous communities.

In addition to native plants, the Bush Tucker Garden features ‘Storytelling poles’ that were designed and painted by Darug elder, Uncle Chris Tobin. Students will learn about the meaning of the artwork on the poles and then will be invited to pass on what they have learned to their younger schoolmates. Select students will also take on the role of Bush Tucker Rangers.

Mark Taylor, MP, Member for Seven Hills said the Bush Tucker Garden is an excellent example of how the NSW Government and the Stronger Communities Fund provides great initiatives. “As the local state member of parliament, I’m always proud to support education projects, such as this, for our kids,” said Mr Taylor.

“The Northmead Public School Bush Tucker Garden is a testament to the generosity of spirit and community-mindedness of parents, staff and students, and the commitment and leadership of our P&C,” said Northmead Public School principal John Mularczyk. “The benefits of the partnerships with City of Parramatta Council, local indigenous elders and artists have been extraordinary.” The Opening Day event will include a traditional smoking ceremony, welcome, storytelling, music, dance activities and workshops. Students have created a large painted canvas that will be unveiled on the day.