Show Me the Way: Stories from Walgett to Sydney

First Nations staff at the Australian Museum in Sydney have become both role models and documentary subjects for a group of students from Walgett.

The Year 10 students from Walgett Community College are part of Show Me the Way, an online mentoring program which includes film workshops producing real stories about the lives and work of real people – in this case, local Walgett heroes, and staff at the Australian Museum in Sydney.

The students were in Sydney recently to finalise production of their films as part of their assessment for the seven-month program.

At a special graduation screening at the Museum, stories from Walgett played on the big screen showcasing Walgett Community College, Gamilaraay language learning, Walgett’s community garden, the Walgett AMS, and the First Nations cultural workers at the Australian Museum. 

Students Delta Swan, Theresa Murray, Edward Dodd, Makayla Duffy and Zoe Provest were present at the film screening and certificate presentation. They were joined by Aunty Glendra Stubbs and Aunty Beryl Van Oploo from the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern which hosted the Walgett mob during their Sydney visit. Aunty Glendra who supported the students during their time at the NCIE also compered the screening.

Photo l-r: Delta Swan, Theresa Murray, Edward Dodd, Anne Dennis, Aunty Beryl van Oploo, Makayla Duffy, Zoe Provest.

The students were urged on by Anne Dennis, Vice President of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) and a Gamilaraay woman who’s lived most of her life in Walgett.

Born on Namoi Reserve, Anne spoke to the audience in her Gamilaraay language, and reminded us all of the importance of maintaining and speaking language, as her grandparents were banned from learning or practicing language.

“You have all overcome many challenges to be here, all of the perceptions of disadvantages that people believe when they hear you come from Walgett. We are all here to support each other and congratulations!”

The films will be available on a DVD titled,  “Looking Out, Looking In”, which will be launched in Walgett as part of the 2018 NAIDOC celebrations. This DVD will be held in state, national and public libraries across Australia.

 The online mentoring provided by Australian Museum staff and others for the Show me the Way Program  will continue through till May 2018.

Photo: Show me the Way students and staff, Australian Museum mentors and staff and NCIE supporters give the big W for Walgett at the Show me The Way film screening at the Australian Museum in Sydney

What is Show me the Way?

The national not-for-profit mentoring organisation, Show Me The Way (SMTW) has provided online mentoring and film workshops to students from First Nations backgrounds since 2010 and students from refugee backgrounds since 2014.

SMTW’s focus is to support students through their secondary school studies and continuing to tertiary education at TAFE, university or vocational education whilst remaining culturally relevant every step of the way.

While the Walgett group were in Sydney, The National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) provided accommodation and evening meals; the Royal Botanic Gardens gave a deadly bushfood tour; Tribal Warrior hosted a cultural cruise on Sydney Harbour and Sydney Opera House staff showed the students all the theatre halls in the building. NCIE’s Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX)  program also ran an an introduction to robotics workshop and Bangarra will meet the students at a performance in Dubbo in March 2018.