Community News

Baryulgil elder Heather Monaghan visits the grave site of her mother, Lucy Daley who is buried at Baryulgil cemetery. She is pictured with the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Sarah Mitchell, Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and her daughter, Sharon Monaghan holding a very shy toddler. It was revealed during the visit that it is the first time any Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has visited Baryulgil. Further photos of visits to the Community Hub, Baryulgil Public School, Uniting Preschool and Jacaranda Preschool are available on request. Image: Contributed

Aboriginal culture front and centre in Clarence

Minister for Early Childhood Education and Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell has joined Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis on a visit to a number of organisations in the Clarence Valley to discuss how they are embedding Aboriginal culture into their everyday practice.

The Minister met with students and teachers at Baryulgil Public School on Monday to discuss their transition to high school program and their “Bundjalung Program”, dropped into Uniting Preschool to chat to staff and children about their Ninganah No More program and discussed Drought Relief Payments at Jacaranda Preschool.

Ms Mitchell said she also met with Aboriginal Elders and locals at Baryulgil Cemetery, who have just received a grant of more than $62,000 to study the site’s heritage.

“It was a pleasure to chat to the community out at Baryulgil Cemetery today, who are conducting a project to understand the values associated with the cemetery and to identify the physical location of the burials across the site in order to celebrate, share, document and connect the Baryulgil and broader community to their heritage,” she said.

“The site carries deep social, historic and spiritual values and it is fantastic it will continue to play a vital role within the local community.

“I look forward to hearing the outcome of the study.”

Also on the itinerary was a meeting with Jacobi Basset, who Mr Gulaptis said has recently received a $20,000 grant as part of the NSW Government’s Aboriginal Early Childhood Teaching Scholarships program.

“Jacobi, who works at Gummyaney Preschool in Grafton, is just one of 13 Aboriginal educators across the state to receive one of these scholarships, so it is great that I get to introduce her to the Minister today,” he said.

“Families in Clarence can rest assured that with educators like Jacobi, children in the region will have greater access to information about Aboriginal culture and heritage, which is just so important.”

Ms Mitchell and Mr Gulaptis also dropped into Jacaranda Preschool, which is one of 20 community preschools in the Clarence electorate to receive their share of a huge $103,300 in Drought Relief Payments.

“We all know that 2018 has been a particularly tough year right across NSW, so I was please the NSW Government could provide some support to community preschools to ease the burden a bit for young families,” Mr Gulaptis said.

“Services in Clarence are using these fees to reduce fees, provide families with alternative travel arrangements, and to future-proof services should these tough conditions arise again.”

For more information on grants available to community preschools, visit the Department of Education website.