Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Statements by Members
Barker, Ms Kirby, Page Electorate: Aboriginal Cultural Heritage
I'd like to recognise Kirby Barker from Evans Head. She is a finalist in the New South Wales Department of Education's Early Childhood Educator Awards. Kirby is an educator and cultural adviser with Evans Head-Woodburn Preschool. She develops programs about Aboriginal heritage and culture for students. These include a comprehensive language program and a program that focuses on nature and country. Kirby developed a program that sees 10 children head out to learn in nature every fortnight. She's also part of a working group that promotes reconciliation within the early childhood education sector. Kirby was also named Children Services Trainee of the Year at the completion of her traineeship.
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus restrictions, the award ceremony has been postponed. That didn't stop preschool students from presenting Kirby with the 'bestest childhood educator' award. Congratulations and thank you to Kirby.
Deputy Speaker, I am lucky enough to have some of the most significant landmarks in the country in my region. One of is Nimbin Rocks. The three most prominent rocks were named Thimble, Cathedral and the Needle by the early white settlers; however, their significance dates back many thousands of years. They are an extremely sacred site to our local Bundjalung people. It is believed that the rocks were home to a clever man, a prominent figure in many Aboriginal Dreaming stories. When you look closely at one of the rocks, you see there is a hole in the middle. Elders say this is a window into the home of the clever man, who lived in the rock with his family. One night, the clever man left the window open and his daughters fled their home. That is why, to this day, you can still see a hole through the rock. These stories are still told in many families today. Aboriginal Dreaming is an important part of our culture and heritage.
These stories are also linked to how Nimbin got its name. There are two meanings associated with the town's name. One is connected with the Bundjalung word for a camp, hut or house; the other is a Bundjalung word for 'little clever man who dwells in mountains or rocks'. Elders also tell the story of how the three geographical landmarks of Wollumbin, or Mount Warning, the Pinnacle and Mount Burrell form a sacred triangle that directly connects with Nimbin Rocks. Aboriginal people don't see sites of significance as separate. They are all connected to each other. Culture and environment are inextricably linked.
So, Deputy Speaker, not only are the Nimbin Rocks spectacularly physically beautiful; they have an important story to tell in Aboriginal Dreaming.