Weaving skills passed on at child care centres

CAPTIVE AUDIENCE: Ava Sims, Blake Lumsden and Remi O'Connor learn about the art of weaving from Sandra and Melissa Aitken. South West Healthcare health promotion officer Jacinta Lenehan watches on. Picture: Robin Sharrock
CAPTIVE AUDIENCE: Ava Sims, Blake Lumsden and Remi O'Connor learn about the art of weaving from Sandra and Melissa Aitken. South West Healthcare health promotion officer Jacinta Lenehan watches on. Picture: Robin Sharrock

The next generation has had the chance to get an close-up look at some ancient aboriginal skills.

Gilgar Gunditj women, Sandra Aitken and her daughter Melissa, from the Lake Condah area’s River People tribe, visited child care centres in Warrnambool and Koroit.

During their visit, the women shared their knowledge of traditional weaving practices, skills passed down from Sandra’s Aunty Connie Hart.

Leading up to the visit, the children at the child care centres had been learning about aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture and were able to add some stitches of their own to the woven baskets.

South West Healthcare health promotion officer working with indigenous communities, Wren Bowie, said the visits were well received by children and staff.

“It was incredible, when we first saw the complexity of the weaving we thought for a moment it may have been too much for the children to take in,” Ms Wren said.

“But Sandra and Melissa were wonderful the way they engaged the children.

“And it wasn’t just the children, the educators were taking it all in and learning as well.

“It was a great opportunity for Sandra and Melissa to not only pass on their weaving skills, but also their stories about Aunty Connie Hart and the influence she had on them.”

The day was a forerunner to NAIDOC celebrations which will be held across the southwest from July 8–15.

The visit fitted in well with the theme of the NAIDOC celebrations, Because of Her, We Can.

This theme is also central to an art exhibition at the Lake Bolac Information and Business Centre which will be launched on Sunday at 1pm. The exhibition will feature the works of mother and daughter, Fiona Clarke and Patricia McKean.

Below is a list of other NAIDOC celebrations across Moyne and Warrnambool next week.

Sunday: Welcome and smoking ceremony, presentation of new video telling the story of Elder Robbie Lowe’s mother, presentation of a poster by artist Sherry Johnston. Warrnambool Art Gallery 11-12 noon.

Monday: Gunditjmara award ceremony, welcome to country, flag raising, community breakfast. Gunditjmara Co-operative 8-11am.

Tuesday: Flag raising, welcome to country, traditional dancing by Koko Blokes, photo tree and stories, craft and face painting, healthy activities tents and fire pit lunch. Kirrae Health Service 10am-2pm . 

Flag rising and welcome to country, smoking ceremony, morning tea. St John of God Hospital 10-11am.

Welcome ceremony, local stories, afternoon tea. Archie Graham Centre Community Centre 1-3pm.

Wednesday: Thanampool Day. Aboriginal Women’s Day, quest speakers, possum skin cloak photo presentation, smoking ceremony, traditional tucker/dances. Harris Street Reserve 11am-3pm.

Flag rising, bush tucker, music. South West TAFE 11am-2pm.

Thursday: Welcome to country,  history of NAIDOC, dancing, music, women’s stories, traditional weaving, drumming circle, free lunch. South West Healthcare 11.30am-2pm.

Friday: Ngarrakeeton Day. Family day morning tea, kids activities, traditional face painting. Harris Street Reserve 9-12 noon.

Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony, flag raising. Ngootyoong (PARC), Moore Street 11-12 noon.