Aboriginal Consultative Committee to resume

By Lara Pearce

In response to strong community support, the Lachlan Shire Council has announced that it will be re-activating the Aboriginal Consultative Committee from October this year.

The committee has not met since 19 June 2007 and Council resolved to suspend the committee that September due to low attendance at meetings.

Addressing this, General Manager of the Lachlan Shire Council, Liz Collyer, wrote in the Council’s latest business paper: “Aboriginal community representatives […] believe the previous Committee had difficulty in maintaining representatives to attend meetings as the content of the meetings had lost its purpose for community members.”

“For a re-activated Aboriginal Advisory Committee to be successful it must meet the needs of the communities it represents and Council must respect and genuinely acknowledge the feedback provided by the Committee.”

A draft framework for the committee has been developed, detailing its purpose and core values.

Two Councillors and the Council’s General Manager and Director of Community Services and Governance will be among the committee’s members, along with nine Aboriginal community representatives.

“The 2011 Census indicated that almost 17% of the total population of the Lachlan Shire identified as Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander.” Ms Collyer wrote. “Whilst Council is working in collaboration with a number of Aboriginal organisations and individuals on a range of community and business matters, Council does not currently have a formal process in place of seeking the input and advice of our Aboriginal community members.”

The proposal involves a minimum of four meetings a year to be held at the Wiradjuri Study Centre.

Community members may express interest in committee membership from Monday 4 until Friday 29 August, according to the Council’s draft timeline.

Minister Rudd to open study centre amidst DA controversy

WCC project management team: Reginal Saddler, Rebecca Merritt, Donna Johnson, Neil Ingram and John Spencer. DGBy Dominic Geiger

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has confirmed he will officially open the Wiradjuri Study Centre in Condobolin on September 27.

C.E.O of Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC), Percy Knight, said Mr Rudd had been chosen as a result of the former PM’s apology to the stolen generation in 2008.

“In that speech he mentioned a new beginning for all Australians,” Percy said.

“He mentioned that phrase three or four times, and that’s what we’ve been trying to achieve with the study centre since 2003.

“The WSC makes a statement about this new beginning and about the stolen generation and says let’s now move forward; let’s make sure that never happens again.

“The study centre takes into consideration how we as Aboriginal people see things and how we learn; it’s a learning centre first and foremost, but it’s also a cultural centre.

“With it, we’re closing the gaps on employment opportunities on a local level.”

Percy said there had been some initial concerns Mr Rudd wouldn’t be able to attend the ceremony given his recent heart operation, but since his recovery the green light had been given for the minister’s visit.

“Of course he could also be called overseas, given his high profile, but we’re going to take a gamble on it,” he said.

Despite a date having been set for the official opening of the centre, WCC is yet to meet all the criteria for the Lachlan Shire Council (LSC) imposed development application on the building.

As such, WCC is yet to be granted full occupancy of the building and is currently occupying the building as a management team.

General Manager of the Lachlan Shire Council, George Cowan, said council was working with the management of WCC to resolve the issue.

“These issues have been ongoing throughout the course of the buildings construction,” he said.

“Council is hopeful these matters can be addressed and the building can be put to use, though these are not insignificant issues.”

Percy said the bureaucratic arm of LSC had been needlessly picky in its scrutinising of the development application.

“I have no problem with the councillors, however the bureaucratic element of the council has been very needlessly pedantic with its due diligence,” he said.

“We are doing our best to deal with these issues, though we feel these issues are not OH&S.

“I have said that if the council continues to be pedantic there is a mood within Wiradjuri people that this day could be a day of celebration or a day of protest.”

Flo Grant, from the Wiradjuri Council of Elders, said it was very exciting to see something which had come from nothing bloom into fruition.

“I’ve been there from the beginning, watching people make their own bricks and build with them; it’s been quite exciting,” she said.

“There are, however, a few issues, mostly from the bureaucratic side, affecting the project.

“We do not accept people not giving back what belongs to us.

“This centre has been independently earned; it’s ours and we’re not going to let it go.”

Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation named as a top Australian Employer

WCC employees: Warwick Saddler, Jerome Coe-Williams, Jared Coe, Kenny Gardner, Marley Dargin, Todd Coe, Scott Sadler and Project Manager John Spencer.Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC) has recently been named as a finalist in the National Employment Awards for Excellence in recognition of the organisation’s commitment to closing the gap on employment opportunities for local Aboriginal people.

Servicing a membership base of more than 400, the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC) is chartered with providing a better quality of life for local Wiradjuri people through the development of employment and economic opportunities.

The awards are an initiative of the National Employment Services Association (NESA).

WCC was recognised for its effort in improving employment opportunities for Indigenous job seekers and providing economic independence for the Condobolin Aboriginal community.

Percy Knight, CEO of the WCC, said the WCC recognises Aboriginal Australians are the most disadvantaged group within Australia’s labour market.

“We link employment to training and not training for employment,” he said.

“We find the jobs, then we find the people who want them, then train the person so their skills are relevant to the employer’s needs.

“We are trying to skill our people up; I am very excited about this award because it recognises our organisation on a national level.”

As a result of successful cooperation with Central West Community College, more than two thirds of WCC’s workforce are former disadvantaged job seekers, now employed across the corporation’s eleven business units.

NESA CEO, Sally Sinclair, said while the awards recognise a special few, all organisations that deliver Australian Government contracted employment services have achieved something remarkable by helping millions of Australians into work.

“These awards are in recognition of those dedicated professionals who are working in the Job Services Australia system,” she said.

“There are few programs that truly acknowledge the direct and lasting impact that employment services have on improving the social fabric of our society.

“The NESA Awards for Excellence do this” she said.

Minister Constance speaks at Yawarra

Minister Constance listens to concerns from locals. DG

By Dominic Geiger

The NSW Minister for Ageing and Disability Services, Andrew Constance, held a public seminar at Condobolin’s Yawarra Aboriginal Corporation last Wednesday to discuss ways the state government could improve services for Aboriginal people with a disability.

Condobolin’s Googar dancers welcomed the minister to Yawarra with a song and dance performance.

The seminar, which was organised through the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW, was part of Mr Constance’s ongoing tour of a number of Western NSW towns during which he hopes to gather community feedback on the best way to implement reforms to state disability services.

Mr Constance said the focus of the reforms was to put disability funding in the hands of the individual with a disability, their carers and family.

“What we’re doing as the new Government is reforming disability support so rather than funding disability services, we’re going to provide the funding on an individual basis,” he said.

“This will mean [the person with a disability] can pick and choose their services rather than be dictated to.”

Mr Constance said the seminars would also help him gain an understanding into the needs of disabled people living in rural and remote areas of the state.

“Our aim is to put people back at the heart of decision making and to try and drive greater services available to particularly those living in Aboriginal communities and those who are in rural and remote areas.”

“I’m at Yawarra to hear from the Aboriginal community directly about the needs of people with disabilities around Condobolin as well as the Western Plains and Central West,” he said.

While speaking to the crowd of approximately 150 people, Mr Constance said the current state of disability services in NSW was “stuffed” and there “are a million and one issues you probably want to bend my ear about.”

Despite this, he said the situation was improving.

“With the new Government we have the opportunity for $20 billion of growth funding which we’ll be rolling out over the coming years to try and better meet the needs of people with disabilities living in rural and remote areas,” he said.

After announcing the proposed reforms, Mr Constance fielded questions and concerns from the audience.

Currajong disabilities Manager, Ann Hunter, said while the proposed individualised funding might work in metropolitan areas, it may create difficulties for people in remote areas.

“It may not be enough for servicing one family if the person lives on a farm and has to travel large distances for treatment,” she said.

“We have only one client in Lake Cargelligo and it’s difficult to provide her with services because it costs so much.

“The lack of numbers [of disabled people in certain rural areas] will create problems; one model doesn’t fit all.

“We need to work together in the country.”

Coordinator at Yawarra Aboriginal Corporation, Brian Clemson, said it was a privilege for Yawarra to host the seminar.

“There are a lot of carers here to talk about the gaps in disability care that exist in Condobolin,” he said.

“One of the main things we’re trying to achieve is emergency overnight accommodation in the town.

“We are also trying to establish full time, culturally appropriate accommodation for elders and people with disabilities under an Aboriginal banner.”

Left: Condobolin’s Googar Dancers. Right: Representatives from Condobolin’s Yawarra Aboriginal Corporation and the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW. DG

Theft creates outrage at the Murie

Rebecca Shepherd next to a scarred tree marking the location of the burial site.

By Dominic Geiger

Condobolin Aboriginal Elders are outraged following the theft of a chain used to mark the location of a children’s burial site on the grounds once belonging to the Murie Aboriginal Settlement, just south of Condobolin.

The theft is thought to have occurred sometime between the evening of Friday July 22 and the morning of Sunday July 24.

It has also been reported that firewood has been cut and removed from the area, which is an offense given the Murie site is administered by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) as a travelling stock route.

CEO of the Condobolin Local Aboriginal Land Council, Rebecca Shepherd, said it was disappointing the theft had occurred considering the amount of work the community had put into the project.

“For the Elders and the school kids who worked on this project to see it treated in this way, it’s as though it just didn’t matter,” she said.

“The Elders are talking about putting a pad lock on the outside gate as a last option, but that would just create a challenge for people who might want to break in.”

The Lachlan Catchment Management Authority (LCMA) recently recognised the work done preserving the burial site during an awards ceremony in Cowra.

“There are between twelve and fourteen children buried here,” Rebecca said.

“The OEH came out last year and helped locate the bodies resting near the scarred tree using ground penetrating radar.

“It’s not just Aboriginal children who were buried here either, as the Murie was a place where all different sorts of people have lived together over the years.”

Willow Bend at risk of flood devastation

CEO of the Condobolin Aboriginal Land Council, Rebecca Shepherd, surveys Willow Bend's broken flood gates and substandard levee while a concerned village resident looks on.

By Dominic Geiger

Revelations Willow Bend Village’s levee bank is at least one metre too low to protect the community in the event of a serious flood have emerged following last Wednesday’s council meeting.

It has also been revealed one of the community’s flood gates has fallen into the river while the other one is in a state of serious disrepair.

Despite having recently passed a motion to participate in the Aboriginal Communities Water and Sewerage Program for Willow Bend Village, administered by the NSW Office of Water, Lachlan Shire Council (LSC) is not responsible for the water services provided at Willow Bend.

“[These issues] are the Willow Bend Aboriginal community’s responsibility, as it is privately owned, [however] the shire has been trying to aid the community as much as possible in their attempt to acquire funding for the project,” Director for Technical Services at LSC Kevin Smith said.

CEO for the Condobolin Local Aboriginal Land Council (CLALC), Rebecca Shepherd, said the estimated cost of raising the kilometre long levee and replacing the flood gates was somewhere in the region of $800,000.

“The CLALC is confident the NSW Office of Water will contribute towards some of the funding, however we are unsure where the remainder will come from at this stage,” she said.

“During last year’s floods we were forced to sandbag the area to protect everyone who lives in the village.

“Since then, the NSW SES has conducted priority rankings of the most flood prone Aboriginal communities in NSW, with Willow Bend coming in at number two.”

Rebecca said in the event of a significant flood the community would be forced to evacuate.

“We have lots of elderly people and little children living here, so it would be difficult in an emergency,” she said.

“Because the shire is integrated into the whole process, they have been really supportive.

“Hopefully someone might help to sponsor those repairs which won’t be funded by the NSW Office of Water.

“It could be an opportunity for any major companies looking at setting up in Condobolin and working with the local community.”

Condobolin Wiradjuri Alliance Group formed

Members of the Condobolin Aboriginal community and government representatives met last Monday for the inaugural meeting of the Condobolin Wiradjuri Alliance Group.

Various representatives of the Condobolin Aboriginal community met at the Condobolin Aboriginal Land Council building last Monday July 18 for the inaugural meeting of the Condobolin Wiradjuri Alliance Group (CWAG).

CWAG spokesperson, Kevin Read, said the group had been formed in order to address many of the issues currently creating disadvantages for Aboriginal people in Condobolin.

“We’ll be working within the whole community to create better outcomes for Aboriginal people in the future,” he said.

The group is comprised of a collection of community members including government representatives, elders and young people.

“We aim to ensure maximum opportunityiesfor the voices of Aboriginal people living in Condobolin and to reach decision makers in all levels of community, service providers and all level of government and its agencies,” Kevin said.

The CWAG will meet every second Monday of each month.

Attendees at the meeting included Tanya Atkinson, Mark Powell, Rebecca Shepherd, Allana Newman, Shirley-Ann Merritt, Rebecca Merritt, Amanda Coe, Kevin Read and Kendall Clarke with apologies from Neil Newman, Margie Williams and Kevin Griffiths.

Willow Bend Sports holiday activities for youth

A number of sporting activities held at the Condobolin Willow Bend Sports Centre have been entertaining school students during their holidays.

By Dominic Geiger

Orange based Octec Youth Connections has been helping to entertain Condobolin youth over the holidays with a number of sporting activities held at Willow Bend Sports Centre.

The activities, which are focused around traditional Indigenous sporting games, have been running in conjunction with Willow Bend’s regular school holiday program.

Indigenous youth worker from Octec, Corey Mclean, said the aim of the organisation’s program was to support at risk youth and engage them in education.

“Through sport, we’re able to connect with them and then promote our message,” he said.

“We target youth from the age of 11 to 19 and encourage them to remain in high school or to enrol in TAFE and other forms of tertiary education.”

During last Thursday’s Octec visit, children played games of tag red rover and a traditional Indigenous game known as Gorri.

“It’s a hunting simulation game, where we use a big bouncy ball to represent an emu, kangaroo or a bird and children throow tennis balls at it,” Corey said.

Manager at Willow Bend Sports Centre, Kelly Jarick, said the centre’s school holidays had been particularly successful.

“We’ve been seeing between 20 and 40 kids show up each day for the activities,” she said.

“We’ve also been providing a healthy morning tea for them, as well as having lucky door prizes and awarding best and fairest awards.”

Touchdown in Penrith

Condobolin students travelled to Sydney last Friday to meet the Penrith Panthers NRL team.

Twenty Condobolin students had the chance to travel to Sydney and meet their Rugby League heroes last week as part of the Touchdown in Penrith Condobolin Youth Centre Program.

The students were selected based on their recent behaviour and attendance record at the Condobolin Youth Centre’s meetings.

Youth Activity Officer, Christine Brandy, said the excursion was part of a mentoring partnership with the Penrith Panthers NRL team.

“The children will meet with the team before the game on Saturday and have a chat with the players,” she said.

“While in Sydney, the students will also get a chance to go ice skating, play basketball and take part in a visual arts workshop.

“The kids are all really pumped up and excited for the trip.”

Christine said the students’ behaviour had become noticeably better since the introduction of the program.

“It’s given the kids an incentive to behave,” she said.

“The program has been running for a few years now and we’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in the students over that time.

“We run the classes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons and do things like scrap booking, cooking and different types of sport.

“It’s about getting them off the street.”

Student Kurrin Brandy said he couldn’t wait to meet the Panthers.

“I’m really excited, I like league and I like watching the Panthers play.”

 

Condo students selected for NAISDA

CHS students Dylan Brandy, Shannon King and  Shirley King  with  dance teacher Jo Clancy.By Dominic Geiger

Three Condobolin High School students have been selected for a week long NAISDA dance scholarship at the Redfern National Centre for Indigenous Excellence.

Students Dylan Brandy, Shannon King and Shirley King were selected out of workshops leading up to ‘Marramarra’, a separate dance event which will take place in Bathurst on July 12.

The students will now travel to Sydney in August to participate in the project.

Dylan said he was surprised when he was selected.

“We all had to dance and the best dancers would get picked,” he said.

“I must have just been lucky.”

While taking part in the scholarship, the Condobolin students will be able to experience what life as a professional dancer might be like.

“When we’re at NAISDA, we’ll get to watch and meet the dancers of Bangarra Dance Theatre,” Dylan said.

“It’ll be good; I’m really excited about it.”

 

Talking climate history

By Dominic Geiger

A photo exhibit showcasing an Australian National University historical project on the Lake Cowal/Temora region was recently displayed in Condobolin.

Held at Western Plains Regional Development, the photos focused on an eight day fact-finding mission Australian National Museum Curator, George Main, undertook late last year.

George said he began the walk to understand how people of the region had historically dealt with a changing climate.

“It was a chance to talk to locals along the way and to find out about the challenges of the drought and then the breaking of the rain,” he said.

“It was about using history to understand what’s happening now.”

George said while he was in Condobolin before setting off on the walk, he had been approached by Wiradjuri Elder Evelyn Coe.

“Aunty Evelyn suggested I come back and do a slideshow and presentation on the walk,” he said.

“[We were looking at the] different ways people have lived in the area over time and how we might use them as a guide to respond to [climate change] today.”

Author and former Condobolin resident, Merril Findlay, attended the photo screening.

“It’s wonderful to see the Australian National Museum supporting a project like this,” she said.

“It’s really allowing people to give something back to the community.”

CAHS Centre begins men’s health program

Participants attended a meeting last Wednesday at Condobolin Aboriginal Health Centre where information and healthy snacks were provided.By Dominic Geiger
Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service in partnership with NSW Dept of Communities, Sport and Recreation and Condobolin Health Service has begun an eight week Aboriginal Men’s Health activity program.
Eleven men attended an information seminar last Thursday evening that explained how the program would be run across the following weeks.
The program is designed to encourage Aboriginal men to engage themselves in physical activity and education workshops to improve their overall wellbeing.
According to Australian Indigenous Health Info Net, “Indigenous people generally experience more risk factors for ill-health than do other Australians.”
Cardiovascular disease is 1.3 times more likely to be the cause of death for an indigenous person than for a non indigenous person, while cancer death rates are around 1.5 times higher for Indigenous people than for their non-Indigenous counterparts.
Nurse at Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service, Maree Atkinson, said the program would feature an exercise workshop on Monday nights while alternating health education seminars and cooking classes would be featured on Tuesday nights.
“The cooking classes will be with a dietician who will help the men learn about food, contents, reading labels, and how to cook great meals,” she said.
“The participants are also really keen to get to the gym on Mondays.”
Maree said the first eduational session topic, which participants discussed on the info night, would focus on sexual health and immunisation.
“They will be talking about how to prevent and immunise against sexually transmitted diseases and other illnesses,” she said.
“This is a joint initiative and I would especially like to thank representatives from NSW Dept of Communities, Sport and Recreation, Condo Aboriginal Health Service, Condobolin Hospital and Willow Bend Sports Centre.

Aboriginal education meeting

Education representatives and members of the Condobolin Aboriginal communityBy Dominic Geiger

Education representatives and members of the Condobolin Aboriginal community met last Thursday to discuss the possibility of forming an Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) in Condobolin.

AECGs act as a local voice for Aboriginal communities in matters of education pertinent to Aboriginal people from preschool to tertiary studies.

Joy Russel, Vice President of Western One AECG, said the aim of the committee was to lobby the government for changes in Aboriginal education as well as to liaise between schools and Aboriginal communities.

“The meeting was about gauging the Condobolin community’s interest in forming an AECG,” she said.

“If, for example, Condobolin Public School wanted to [create] a program for Aboriginal students, the school could go to the committee to help with the direction of the program.

“AECGs also sign off on all Aboriginal education funding in their respective towns.”

Other towns within Western One AECG include Parkes, Forbes, Cowra and Narromine.

Condobolin Public School principal, Deborah Nay, said the meeting had been extremely positive.

“Everyone present was very interested in forming an AECG in Condobolin,” she said.

“The next step is contacting parents to ascertain their interest level.

“To begin with, we will be surveying Public and High School parents and if it’s successful we will then be approaching [other educational facilities in Condobolin].”

Photo exhibition set to shed light on climate change issues

Tony Duff on the Bland Creek, showing Australian National Museum Curator, George Main, the remains of a old punt.By Dominic Geiger

Late last year Australian National Museum Curator, George Main, set out on a walk between Lake Cowal and Temora to better understand how people of the region have historically dealt with changing climatic conditions.
This June 24, George will present photos and information from the expedition in Condobolin.
During the eight day trek, George followed the creeks from Lake Cowal to Combaning, near Temora, in order to find ways to respond to the global issue of climate change “by taking a particularly local perspective.”
George said the walk had been an opportunity to learn more about the Aboriginal history of the area and to hear about the difficulties of farming in an increasingly unpredictable climate.
“It was a chance to talk to locals along the way and to find out about the challenges of the drought and then the breaking of the rain,” he said.
“It was about using history to understand what’s happening now.”
George said while in Condobolin, he had been approached by Wiradjuri Elder Evelyn Coe.
“Aunty Evelyn suggested I come back and do a slideshow and presentation on the walk,” he said.
“The show will focus on the different ways people have lived in the area over time and how we might use them as a guide as to respond to [climate change] today.”
George will be presenting photos and a talk about the trek at 11am on Friday, June 24 at the Condobolin Local Aboriginal Land Council office at 18 William Street.

Kiacatoo man exhumed for research

Local Aboriginal representatives conduct a smoking ceremony following the removal of the bones.

By Dominic Geiger

The ancient Aboriginal remains recently found near Kiacatoo in the Lachlan Shire have been exhumed and sent to the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra for DNA analysis.
The bones, which were removed last Wednesday, will remain at the ANU for the next six months before being returned to the site for reburial.
Aboriginal representatives from Murrin Bridge, Lake Cargelligo and Condobolin conducted a smoking ceremony during the removal of the bones.
Archaeologist from the Office of Environment and Heritage in Dubbo, Phillip Purcell, said although it was impossible to speculate on the exact age of the bones, several factors surrounding their discovery meant they could be of incredible archaeological significance.
“Anything’s possible; the bones’ heavily mineralised state indicates they are at least over 8000 years old,” he said.
“It is quite possible they will coincide with the Kow Swamp Murray River remains which range from 6000 to 16,000 years old.
“However the location of the burial next to the ancient former course of the Lachlan River (accompanied) with the dating of individual sand grains indicates the bones could be 25,000 to 30,000 years old.”
Phillip said permission from the relevant Aboriginal groups around Lake Cargelligo and Condobolin had been acquired to perform tests on the bones.
“The permit we have been allocated [to do the tests] includes the provision that the remains must be returned in six months and reburied in exactly the same place,” he said.
“A permanent fence will be constructed around the grave site and the site itself will be capped so it won’t erode and to protect it from stock.”
Phillip said following the DNA analysis, hypotheses could be made in regards to Kiacatoo Man’s diet and whether he was related to Aboriginal people still living in the Lake Cargelligo and Condobolin areas.
“We know he was a massive man, about six foot five, as well as very heavy set,” he said.
“There was also a kind of film of black soil under him, which may have been a bed made for him that has broken down over the years.
“From a community perspective, there has been a sense that the right thing has been done and it has gone very smoothly; there has been a deep sense of respect involved (in the project).”

Wiradjuri art on display at study centre

Left to right: Isaac Burrell, Percy Knight, Jesse Burrell, Tasha Stewart and Terry Williams with artwork by Gloria Reid. The larger painting in the background tells the story of the connection between the old camp at the Murie and the settlement at Willow Bend in Condobolin.

By Dominic Geiger

Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC) has recently held an exhibition titled “Art of the Wiradjuri” at the organisation’s newly constructed study centre.
The exhibition was held as a model to discover how artists felt their work could be displayed at future exhibitions in Wagga Wagga, Dubbo and Bathurst.
Project manager for the exhibition, Terry Williams, said “Art of the Wiradjuri” included many different styles and designs including traditional, contemporary, photography and craft.
“We thought we’d try to exhibit across as many genres as possible,” he said.
“Today is about developing a display model; this exhibition is one of many more to come.
Terry said the exhibition had been established to build upon the artistic traditions of the Wiradjuri people.
“(Art) has long been recognised as an important aspect of Wiradjuri life and culture,” he said.
“The exhibition is a method which seeks to encourage and establish new emerging artists in both the maintaining and developing of important works.
“The ‘Art of the Wiradjuri’ is open for applications for the winter exhibition… it is not a competition but will be a stepping stone for local artists to unmask their work.”
Isaac Burrell, who travelled from Gilgandra to see the exhibition, said he was impressed with the work on display.
“I wanted to come and have a look because my aunty has done some of the (art) work and my uncle helped build the doors (of the study centre),” he said.
The exhibition will travel to other locations in the Wiradjuri nation around the end of June.

Revege the sedge well underway

Senior Condo High School students are helping out with the “Revege the Sedge” project which will include constructing a path and planting grasses along the river’s edge.

By Dominic Geiger

The ‘Revege the Sedge’ community project is well underway on the southern banks of the Lachlan River in Condobolin.
The project, which is an initiative of various different groups within the Lachlan Shire, aims to revitalise the riverbank and construct a path between the old woolshed in the sports grounds and the Lachlan River Bridge.
Project Officer at Western Plains Regional Development Inc (WPRD,) Heather Blackley, said a group of senior high school students would be doing the majority of the work constructing the path and planting grasses along the river’s edge.
“Spiny Sedge Grass will be planted so the basket weaving ladies will be able to use it,” she said.
“We are also removing rubbish and noxious weeds from the area.
“We’re trying to develop a sense of community with this project; the school children and other community (organisations) will be invited to design the tiles that will cover the pathway.
“We are also involving the Condobolin Historical Society and will be putting up signs which will (explain to visitors) various historical events and places in the area, including photos of when the old bridge across the Lachlan River collapsed.”
High school teacher, Lynn Vanderdonk said the school students involved in the project were learning new skills to help them for when they eventually finish school.
“It’s part of the Star Program which involves TAFE lessons and (helps the students) to attain driver’s license qualifications and pre-employment skills,” she said.
Project facilitator, Steve Karaitiana will be helping to guide the students while they work on the project.
Organisations involved in the project include: WPRD, Condobolin Youth Services, Condobolin High School, TAFE, The Condobolin Historical Society, West Women Weaving, Centacare, Yawarra Aboriginal Corporation and Lachlan Shire Council.

Spit roast BBQ tested

Students from Condobolin High School hosted a barbecue at the Condobolin Men's ShedBy Dominic Geiger

Metals and engineering students from Condobolin High School hosted a barbecue lunch at the Condobolin Men’s Shed recently to celebrate the completion of a spit roast barbecue project.
The students have been constructing the barbecue over the past six weeks with the help of Barrick Gold Corporation sponsored project facilitator, Steve Karaitiana.
Steve said he’d learnt a lot from the students and he hoped they’d learnt a lot from him as well.
“It was a pleasure to work with these young men,” he said.
“The community is now able to hire the spit for functions and in doing so they’ll support the Men’s Shed.
“You can really cook for a big crowd with this barbecue; it’s hard to beat the old spit for cooking a good feed.”
Careers advisor at Condobolin Highschool, Tim Lukins, said the project had helped give the students a much bigger picture about what life after school was like.
“It’s exposed them to the wider community,” he said.
“While they’ve been doing this project one day a week they’ve managed to build sheds at the Murie as well.
“They’ve been taking one day off school a week to work on these projects.
“The barbecue was finished today so now this lunch is a bit of a test run.”
Approximately twenty people enjoyed a succulent meal of spit roasted lamb and potatoes at the lunch.

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