The Girls Academy create a significant cultural identity cloak

GIRLS: (back LR) Summer, Constance, (front LR) Taleah, Shakira and Lavinia pictured holding the Girls Academy Possum Fur Coat which will be worn during official events such as welcome to countries.

GIRLS: (back LR) Summer, Constance, (front LR) Taleah, Shakira and Lavinia pictured holding the Girls Academy Possum Fur Coat which will be worn during official events such as welcome to countries.

Students from Singleton High School's 'Girls Academy' have spent the last eight weeks working on a very special project with guidance from Indigenous Arts and Education consultant, Cherie Johnson.

Cherie owns and operates 'Speaking in Colour', an initiative that helps provide cultural workshops and educational resources for local schools and groups.

The girls have created a teenage-sized cloak out of possum skins and furs which will be worn with pride at formal events for generations ongoing.

Possum Skin Cloaks are utilitarian objects that every traditional Aboriginal person would have had in areas throughout Australia where possums were in abundance.

"In preparation of the birth of a new child, the mother and aunties would sew three pelts together in an up and down pattern, matching the heads to the tails to create a rectangular shape," said Cherie from Speaking in Colour.

"Once completed, it was used as the baby's blanket.

SIGNIFICANT: Each circle burnt in the cloak has been designed by different girls and represents that girl and their meeting place.

SIGNIFICANT: Each circle burnt in the cloak has been designed by different girls and represents that girl and their meeting place.

"As the child grew taller, more pelts were added to the Cloak to ensure sufficient protection from the cold and wet during the day, and at night it continued to be used as a blanket.

"Finally people would have been laid to rest wearing their Possum Skin Cloak."

Cherie helped The Girls Academy create their own Possum Skin Cloak.

"Traditionally, every single person would have their own cloak that grew with them as they aged," said Girls Academy Manager Renee Macdonald.

TRADITION: Year nine student Ainsley wears the cloak with pride.

TRADITION: Year nine student Ainsley wears the cloak with pride.

Each circle burnt in the cloak has been designed by different girls and represents that girl and their meeting place.

"Each circle is a different girls design so we all have a bit of ourselves on the one cloak which we will all wear," said Year 9 student Ainsley.

PROUD: Year seven student Shakira showing off the new Possum Cloak.

PROUD: Year seven student Shakira showing off the new Possum Cloak.

CREATION: The girls designed their own patterns on individual skins.

CREATION: The girls designed their own patterns on individual skins.

"We will wear the cloak at formal events when giving speeches, such as welcome to country."

The Girls Academy is the leading provider of in-school mentoring programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls.

The cloak will be worn officially for the first time at the Girls Academies special awards night on Thursday, November 21 at the High School.