Singleton Girls Academy students honour their elders

LOCAL HISTORY: Singleton DO Kasey Hoare, Marli Whitby, Aunty Jean Hands, Maddison Tallar, Shakira Whitby and Singleton Girls Academy Program Manager Renee MacDonald were on hand.
LOCAL HISTORY: Singleton DO Kasey Hoare, Marli Whitby, Aunty Jean Hands, Maddison Tallar, Shakira Whitby and Singleton Girls Academy Program Manager Renee MacDonald were on hand.

Singleton Girls Academy students recently had the honour of painting one of three boxes used to bring Aboriginal ancestral remains home to country.

The remains had been held for many years at the University of Sydney and Australian Museum, and the Academy girls played a significant role in this important cultural event.

DANCE: The ceremony pictured in the midst of the dance.

DANCE: The ceremony pictured in the midst of the dance.

Local Wonnarua artist Debbie Becker worked with them to put their vision into a design which shows the Hunter Valley and Hunter River, and the 10-year journey and the people involved in returning the ancestors back to country.

Community and Wanaruah Aboriginal Land Council members traveled to Sydney and wrapped each set of remains in paperbark before placing them into the boxes and bringing them home.

PICTURED: One of three boxes used to bring Aboriginal ancestral remains home to country.

PICTURED: One of three boxes used to bring Aboriginal ancestral remains home to country.

Some of the Academy girls formed part of Singleton High School's dance group Banda-ra and danced prior to the remains being placed back into the earth while others attended to witness the momentous occasion.

"The Bringing Them Home Ceremony was a pleasure to witness," Year 12 Singleton Girls Academy student Maddison Tallar said.

"It was an honour to paint the box that the remains were placed in.

"I think it is important that all Aboriginal remains be returned back to their land."

The Girls Academy is Australia's leading in-school mentoring program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls.