Rotarian David Hetherington introduced Anthea Rafferty, a teacher at Warrnambool College, to speak about the “Indigenous Perspectives Program” at the College over the period 2019 to 2023. David described Anthea as a passionate educator who had a great love of teaching and learning, and who believed that the visual arts can change lives.
Anthea had placed examples of student work on the tables, including small woven baskets and decorated ceramic tiles. She also had on display several pieces of art work completed by the students.
After recognising both ancestors and country, Anthea noted the great contribution to the program of Uncle Locky Eccles. Another contributor was Emma Stenhouse, an Indigenous woman, but not of the local area, which had caused a few difficulties in the beginning.
Anthea noted that there were 92 Indigenous students out of the 1200 at the College, and an aim of the program was to imbed Indigenous culture into the classroom. Three Indigenous people came into the classroom one day per week for six weeks. In all 118 students from five different classes were involved.
Funding support for the initial six week block, $5000 each, came from the College, Regional Arts Victoria and The Gardiner Foundation & FRRR Grant. This was used to pay the Indigenous people, PD staff, to purchase resources, for the Tower Hill workshop, and for buses for excursions.
Anthea spoke about and showed via PowerPoint, several of the projects in which students were involved, including craft work, painting, creation of “Story Poles”, visits to Tower Hill and to Moyjil.
The program was presented to the wider community via the College Facebook page and newsletter, The Standard, ABC Radio, and various community newsletters. A video was produced, which was used in presentations to various groups and organisations, including RCWE.
During 2022 Emma & Anthea introduced the program to St Raphael's Primary School, Preston West and St Bernard’s Primary School, Coburg.
Plans for 2023 include the establishment of an Indigenous Garden, which will involve co-operation with Grasmere Primary School.
David thanked Anthea for her presentation; she allocated her $30 ti One Day Studios.