End of 2017and flying into 2018

Flying into 2018

Keep an eye out for some more exciting projects to finish off the year for Black Cockatoo, but first, check out the Taribelang Aboriginal corporation and what they have achieved.

Whilst 2017 has been somewhat quiet for Black Cockatoo, please note that 2016 and most of 2017 was spent working on projects for the Department of Education and Training.  During this time, our team progressed a lot of work with many Aboriginal communities from South East Queensland and Wide Bay.  Of particular note was the work we did with developing relationships and understanding of the Australian Curriculum with our Indigenous communities.  Often I would hear community say,” The curriculum doesn’t represent and share our stories” and from Educators in schools, I would hear, “I don’t know where to start, who should I contact, what stories should we embed?”

With this knowledge, we developed a process similar to that of ‘speed dating’.

By inviting both the Indigenous community and Educators in schools to our events we started to identify opportunities within the curriculum that would support the local story.  Firstly, we poured through each Learning Area and Year level in the Australian Curriculum to identify opportunities that were obvious and not so obvious to embed knowledge within.  For us it was all about Acknowledging Country and ensuring that the local voices were being heard.

The ‘speed dating’ sessions also embraced the opportunity for our Indigenous community to be guided by school educators around the opportunities they saw for better alignment for the various workshops, talks, walks on country and activities that our Indigenous community were offering.

As a result of this day, the local Taribelang community and Elders of the Bundaberg region (QLD) have gone on to develop tours on country, taking educators to 4 culturally significant sites in and around Bundaberg.  Their tours are ensuring that the local story is being embedded within the curriculum as Uncle Willie Broome gives permission to those on board to now embed within the curriculum.

Its outcomes like this that makes my heart sing!!


2016 Ration Shed Tours announced


Ration Shed Tours3







All aboard for Cherbourg’s Ration Shed Tours on the Most Excellent Adventures Tours for 2016

Aunty Honor Cleary and Uncle Marshall Saunders, along with Education Queensland’s North Coast Region Indigenous Education Unit, invite you to join in on the must do experience that will build your cultural awareness and understanding of life for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living under the Act.

During this full day out, you will be guided by the Elders who share their personal stories of resilience, family and culture.  All costs are included in the $70 per person cost.  Transport, Elders fees, morning tea, entry to the Ration Shed Museum, 2 course lunch and wine tasting are included in the ticket price.

Bookings can be made for the following tours in 2016:

14th May – Saturday
8th August – Saturday
5th of November – Saturday

Bookings at Sarah.Larsen@dete.qld.gov.au
or call (07) 5352 9250 Tuesday and Thursday to book

**  These tours are subsidised by the Department of Education Training – North Coast Region’s Indigenous Education Unit

2016 – The year ahead







2015 was a busy year for Black Cockatoo.

Early in the year, we (Cherbourg’s Ration Shed Museum) launched the Boys from Barambah – Black Diggers story for Cherbourg which led to several speaking engagements throughout the year.  It has been wonderful speaking to family members as they connect into the story of these Boys from Barambah and hearing more information about these men. I feel very blessed to have been a part of this journey.

Neil Murray and I, along with Mau Power, Mike Justice and Ben Hense headed north in August for the My Island Home Project (MIHP).  This project came about from a conversation at the dinner table late one night and came to fruition some 6 months later. MIHP was a $70 000 project which was successfully acquitted to two funding bodies. Logistically challenging, this project was a highlight for me personally as I was able to return to a community that I have a strong sense of belonging and responsibility to.  The boys also made me Executive Producer of the album which makes me giggle and is definitely a standout on my CV!!  to hear the album go to https://soundcloud.com/my-island-home-project

I have continued to work with Neil on organising gigs, Ozcrowd funding   https://ozcrowd.com/campaigns/neil-murray-and-sammy-butcher-tjungukutu-coming-together/?updated=true#.VpLb_TZUTUo and upcoming gigs across Australia in 2016.  A lot of upcoming anniversaries for some of Australia’s most significant historical events will be commemorated in 2016 and I am looking forward to hopefully being witness to some of these events.

I will be returning to work with Education Queensland this year in a part time capacity as Manager for Indigenous Education for the North Coast Region.  I am looking forward to creating innovative  projects with community and support our Indigenous Education workers to advance better outcomes for our mob.  Part time work, raising my 2 young boys, supporting my hubby in his new work role and continuing to find opportunities and gigs for Neil Murray ,will fill my 2016.

If you would like Neil to play in your community or have a private house concert, please contact me to discuss the possibilities.

So here is to a happy and healthy year, I will continue my updates on some of the projects I work on throughout the year, hope you enjoy me sharing my journey with you.  All the best in 2016.


My Island Home Project CD – Production starts

MIHP Profile pic1

My Island Home Project Compilation CD

The music has just returned from the USA where it was Mastered at SAGE Records and the button has been pushed to start Replication with Implant media in Melbourne.  Only 14 songs have made the cut from a possible 19 and the CD is due for release in early October on Thursday Island.

The songs have been recorded and produced by Ben Hense www.beattankproductions.com and Mike Justice www.meridiannights.com and will be played throughout Australia when we launch back on Thursday Island as a part of TSIMA’s 30th Birthday Celebrations.

Music will be available through Soundcloud, details to follow.


My Island Home Project hitting all the high notes


















My Island Home Project

It’s been a huge week up on Thursday Island for the My Island Home Project.  21 emerging artists from throughout the Torres Strait converged on Thursday Island for a week of mentoring in songwriting and recording with mentors Neil Murray, Mau Power, Mike Justice and Ben Hense.  The Project takes it ‘s name from the original song that Neil Murray wrote back in the 80’s when he was with the Warumpi Band.  My Island Home as you know has had a number of covers done, one of the latest being that of Patrick Mau or Mau Power with his organic hip hop beats which celebrates his connection to culture and community. Together with the Meridian Nights team of Mike Justice and Ben Hense, the artists developed their skills to write and record a song for the My Island Home Project album.

Due to launch in late September, the My Island Home Project CD will showcase the talent within the region and celebrate a sense of belonging to our Island communities and the seas of the Torres Straits.  Find out more by going to the My Island Home Facebook page where you can hear some of the songs from the artists as well as view  beautiful photos from the week.






Sunshine Coast Queensland