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ALEA – Australian Literacy Educators Alliance Conference – Literacy Empowering Voices: Reflecting the Past, Viewing the Present, Scripting the Future.



Heading to the 2019 ALEA Conference in Melbourne?  Come to my session at 3 pm – Wednesday the 10th of July, 2019, just before Uncle Bruce Pascoe’s in the Ballroom.




Join Shelley Ware and Sally Lawrence to discuss teaching the Australian Curriculum’s Cross Curriculum priority – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander  Histories and Cultures.  It’s an area that educators know they need to teach in their everyday teaching, yet what is the best way to do it effectively and respectfully?  Some educators may find it challenging to teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content because of the complex issues that may arise or because they feel their knowledge and understanding is limited.

Presenters Shelley Ware and Sally Lawrence will discuss their own experiences as practicing educators and will give guidance and advice on how teachers can broaden their students’ understanding of the richness and uniqueness of Australian First Nations languages, peoples, cultures and histories.  More importantly, they will provide strategies and suggestions for how the cross-curriculum priority can be taught in all the key learning areas of the Australian Curriculum.   The presenters will also address and help educators to build their own cultural capability within their teaching practices within this 1-hour workshop.

Shelly Ware

screen-shot-2019-06-30-at-2-36-55-pm  Shelley Ware is a proud descendant of the Yankunyjatjara and Wirangu peoples who lives and   teaches in Melbourne.  Shelley is a presenter on NITV’s The Marngrook Footy Show and she is one   of the most respect and recognised female AFL Football presenters in Australia,   Shelley is a   primary school teacher and has also contributed several texts to the forthcoming Aboriginal and   Torres Strait Islander series, Our Land, Our Stories, published by AIATSIS and Nelson Cengage.



Sally Lawrence

screen-shot-2019-06-30-at-2-55-39-pm  For over 20 years, Sally Lawrence has worked exclusively with both Aboriginal and Torres Strait   Islander communities within Education and Community Development.  Sally held various specialist   teaching roles in Torres Strait Islander communities and more recently, she was the Manager of   Indigenous Education for the Department of Education (North Coast Region – Queensland).  Sally is currently lecturing and writing in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education.  Sally   has also written all the teacher material for the forthcoming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander   series, Our Land, Our Stories, published by AIATSIS and Nelson Cengage.


The Boys from Barambah









This year’s ANZAC week saw two unique and exciting events in the celebration and commemoration of the role of Black Diggers from one small Queensland community.

On Tuesday 21st April we launched a display of the involvement of the Cherbourg Aboriginal Settlement in the 1914-1918 World War. In those days Cherbourg was known as “Barambah”. Forty seven (47) men from the area signed-up to fight for the British Empire in far-away fields and deserts.

The Boys from Barambah is the name given to an exhibition, a book, a website, a film and a suite of educational resources on display at the Ration Shed Museum in Cherbourg. The launch was attended by ex-soldiers and community Elders who came together to remember those who served and to pass on the spirit of ANZACs to the younger generations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. Many other dignitaries, politicians, local RSL representatives, organisations and schools witnessed the launch of the displays.

As Eric Law, chair of the Ration Shed’s Anzac committee said, “with The Boys from Barambah we’ve tried to capture the stories of our young Aboriginal men leaving their homes for the first time, going abroad to foreign lands to fight a war for the British Empire and the Australian nation – some of whom making the ultimate sacrifice – and then returning to their difficult lives under the Aboriginal Protection Act.”

The Boys from Barambah contains many stories which are both interesting and unsettling. One such story is of a group of young men who enlisted only to find they were part of a publicity scheme to shame white men into joining the service in Brisbane. They were sent back to Barambah after a few weeks and then delisted on the grounds that they were not sufficiently “associated with white people”.

On Saturday 25th an ANZAC Day ceremony was held in the early morning in Cherbourg. This event saw two significant moments: the re-naming of the Memorial Park as the Boys from Barambah ANZAC Park and the unveiling of a new Honour board which acknowledges for the first time all the men who enlisted from the Barambah region. A significant attendance is expected from local Cherbourg and South Burnett people.

You can purchase a copy of the Boys from Barambah Book by going online to , go on a journey with some of the Boys from Barambah and visit , visit the Ration Shed museum.  All profits from the sale of these books goes back to the Ration Shed to continue the great work and programs held at the Cherbourg Historical Precinct.  Please show your support.

WW1 – RSL Community Link school project Indigenous Fallen Soldier

IMG_2700 IMG_2790 IMG_2696







Indigenous WW1 Project Overview

Click on the link above and check out the great Unit of Work produced by Steve Eaton, RSL Community Link Officer and his team.  It’s a must for any school in the lead up to ANZAC100 Commemorations.

RSL Community Link Project enables students to represent Queensland born Indigenous Soldiers who died in WW1 at  their in-school, Community Remembrance  Ceremonies and ANZAC Day March.  To date, 27 QLD born, Indigenous soldiers have been identified as having lost their lives.  Projects are sponsored so contact

Steve Eaton at RSL Queensland State Headquarters

[email protected]

p:  3634 9444

m: 0488 940 683

The Ration Shed Museum at Cherbourg is also putting the finishing touches on a multi-dimensional exhibit for it’s ANZAC100 Project – The Boys of Barambah.  Stay tuned for website launch details and exhibition openings in time for this years commemorations.  Go to for more information.

Research in the Nations Capital


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that the following post contains images and names of deceased people. 

War Memorial
poppy wall

We had a very busy long weekend of research in Canberra to make connections with people who are the ‘experts’ in this field.  As novice researchers, we felt very “Indiana Jones” as we started to dig away and uncover some of the story of our Boys from Barambah.  Our meeting at AIATSIS with Rita Metzenrath, the Senior Collections Officer was brilliant, in that I was able to learn from her own research to inform ours.  I was also able to show Rita some of my other projects with the Ration Shed and Sharing Culture which has resulted in AIATSIS purchasing all resources, DVD’s, books, you name it, from the Ration Shed to include in their National catalogue.  I was so inspired by this place as every resource and bit of information was focused on our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.  You could hold the actual documents from the early 1900’s, things you had only viewed as online scanned copies were now right before you.

Once I was able to tear myself away from AIATSIS, I headed to the National War Memorial to meet with Gary Oakley, the Indigenous liaison officer for Collections.  Walking into Gary’s office, was literally like a bomb had gone off!!  We found a place to sit in amongst an old collection that he was cataloguing of exploded war heads.  He promised that non were live!!  It was interesting to again hear from Gary his perspectives on the Black Diggers, however, I can not agree with his thoughts that the AIF was one of the first equal opportunity employers.  Never the less, an interesting hour to assist the project and again steer and guide us in our research.  Gary has offered to help us find information relating to about 6 servicemen whose service records and information elude us.  When we left Gary, we were fortunate enough to have enough time to place a poppy in the wall for Archie Marshall and Benjamin Combo, who both lost their lives whilst serving in WW1.  Furthermore, we paid our respects at the Last Post Ceremony and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

On Saturday, we headed to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy to pay our respects to our Elders who have and continue to fight for Rights and Sovereignty.  Here we met Uncle Frank Murphy, one of the Elders who is currently ‘manning’ the Embassy.  After a big yarn, we then headed back to the National War Memorial and into the bowels of the Reading Rooms, where we uncovered more documents and research to enhance our work to date.  If in Canberra, it is a must that you visit this amazing space, you will literally be blown away. As we were coming down the stairs, Charles ‘Tednee’ Blackman, one of our Boys from Barambah, caught my eye. His image was strong and stood out as if he was actually standing there.  Again very special to see the original letters he wrote to Mr Salter of Biggenden, his white employer’ with him he wrote many letters.  It will be these letters that will form part of the story for Charles Blackman for this project.  To have that extra personal touch enhancing the story helps to bing our men alive.

Later in the afternoon, I had the privilege to meet Philippa Scarlett, author of “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Volunteers for the AIF, a comprehensive book which lists the Indigenous men who volunteered for WW1.  What an amazing lady!  Her knowledge and work around this topic is so extensive, it’s as if she personally knows the individual stories of these men in such detail.  Again to have our thoughts for this project confirmed and guided was very encouraging. Philippa has been so generous with her time and knowledge, I found out as we were leaving that it was her Birthday that day, bless her for sharing some of her time and Birthday cake with us.

Sunday was for the kids, visiting Questacon and getting a last look around Canberra.  An amazing weekend that was extremely productive and rewarding.  A huge thank you to my husband, mother, sister and her family for joining and supporting us.  Couldn’t have done it without you all.

On the weekend of the 26th and 27th of September, I have been invited to speak at the State Library Queensland (SLQ) ANZAC 100 Symposium about the Boys of Barambah project with the Elders of Cherbourg’s Ration Shed Museum.  I huge honour!!  The following day, we will attend the “Black Diggers” Play at QPAC to get more of a sense of this great story that needs to be told.  I’m excited to be contributing a small part to this even bigger picture.

The Boys of Barambah


Cherbourg MemorialHonour Roll








These images and blog contains the names of deceased persons.

This Friday I’m heading to Canberra to conduct research on the Boys of Barambah – WW1 Diggers from Barambah/Cherbourg.  This includes the 29 men on the Honour Board at Cherbourg and the 17 who were ‘irregularly enlisted’ and then discharged within a month on account of their Aboriginality.  The Defence Act at the time only permitted men to serve who were of substantial European heritage, meaning Indigenous men who, if both parents Identified as being Indigenous, could not serve, although they were willing to make the supreme sacrifice.   However, men who had one parent of European heritage could serve.

Early days of the research but some interesting stories are coming to light.  Elders from Cherbourg will be inviting family members to come and share their stories to ensure we bring the oral stories and AIF documented stories together in a rich tapestry.  Very excited about meeting Philippa Scarlett, Gary Oakley and seeing what is housed at the Australian War Memorial, National Museum and AIATSIS.  It’s going to be a very busy weekend.

Please contact me if you have a connection to those Men who were from Barambah/Cherbourg and who volunteered for WW1.  We would love to hear your story and have you be a part of this project.

Sunshine Coast Queensland