The Bemel-Gardoo Project Where the Saltwater meets the Land

The project focus is on embedding Aboriginal cross-curriculum content into a Science and Technology teaching and learning unit, and related assessment tasks.

The Wangal Playground at Ashfield Public School

The land traditionally belonged to the Wangal people of the Eora nation.The 'Wangal' Playground was officially opened in 2007 by then NSW minister for youth, Linda Burney and also included Elder Uncle Max as well as Alfred Coolwell and Rob Welsh, who conducted a smoking ceremony.
The playground is designed to demonstrate the way the traditional custodians of the land, the Wangal people are honoured and respected by the Ashfield school community.
The playground is designed as a learning space, with quiet areas, sandstone for climbing, and a wide range of bush tucker plants. The students use the space on a daily basis.


Traditional Aboriginal Settlement in the Ashfield Area

Aboriginal people lived in what we now know as the greater Ashfield region for thousands of years prior to European arrival. They had developed an enormous body of knowledge and skills to harness the resources provided by local rivers, water ways and surrounding lands. This included trapping birds and animals, exploiting fish and shellfish, gathering plants, removing bark from trees to create carrying dishes and canoes, making use of sandstone shelters for occupation and the creation of art.Backhouse described an Aboriginal person fishing from the Cooks River in 1835, over 60 years after first contact with Europeans.

“We walked to Cooks River, which empties itself into Botany Bay, and fell in with a party of Blacks, who were fishing. One of them had a canoe, made of a large sheet of bark, stretched open with sticks, and drawn together in folds at the ends. This process they affect, by first warming the bark in the fire. The man and his wife were seated on their knees in the canoe, in which they had a fire, on a flat stone. The man propelled the canoe by means of a paddle, that he applied first on one side and then on the other. He used a spear in fishing, made of a long stick, with four long wooden prongs, attached to it, by means of string and grass tree gum. This he brought slowly, almost into contact with the fish before striking. While fishing, he kept up a noise like the blowing of a porpoise and accompanied it by showers of saliva, that disturbed the surface of the water, like a small rain…another man, who stood on a log that extended into the river, was equally successful, by a similar process.”(Backhouse 1843:288)
This unit of work has been created for Stage 3 students in the form of a webquest. The webquest has been designed to encourage students to independently explore a range of websites and links to enhance their understanding of Aboriginal culture and heritage in the Ashfield local area, that of the Wangal people.



Click here for Webquest
Click here for HSIE