Oncountry,10th Anniversary,2003-2014


Visions: Oncountry Media, 2013


Coming up in February this year is a newsworthy Indigenous education program, that will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary as a community based education program.  The course is  taught  in Yorta Yorta country  and is a fully accredited University of Melbourne  subject.  It caters broadly for a diversity of Indigenous and non Indigenous students including International students  who are doing their undergraduate studies at the University.   

The results  that the course has achieve since its commencement, 2003, have been outstanding  reaching close to 100%  for the key quality of teaching criteria. Feedback  from students doing the course compliment these results.   The success of the course is largely due to the  value  of  teaching that students get from Yorta Yorta people using the story line approach. This method  of  learning is  further exemplified by  linking the stories with the tangible evidence of  Yorta Yorta occupation,  and  historic places  like Cummeragunja (1888-2013),  which was featured in the  famous Sapphires film production by Tony Briggs who is a Yorta Yorta playwright.  All of the  teaching staff are Yorta Yorta and they are professional teachers, musicians and artists with excellent teaching  credentials.  

The course was created and is Coordinated by  Dr  Wayne  Atkinson who is a Yorta Yorta elder and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne.  Lou Bennett  is part of the teaching team and she  teaches and performs much of the music she has penned  during her prestigious music career with Tiddas, that continues to flow through her work with the touring Black Arm Band performances.  Shane Charles is another member of the teaching team who specialises in teaching Yorta Yorta history and culture and is one of the many talented artists that the Yorta Yorta have nurtured.  The quality of teaching is  further enriched  by input from guest lecturers  like  Peter Ferguson who is  a Yorta Yorta elder and lecturer in Indigenous Rural Health Studies & Strategic Development Research at the Department of Rural Health, University of Melbourne, Shepparton. There are many other Yorta Yorta speakers and elders who contribute generously to the success of the course.

This year the  course will  be run from 3-8 Feb, 2013 in the ancestral lands of the Yorta Yorta which include the magnificent Barmah-Millewa Forest National Park, a  treasure trove of natural forest wetlands and Yorta Yorta cultural heritage.  The course  is based at a camping resort on the Murray near Cummeragunja. It is  run as a week  intensive  in which  students are hosted by the Yorta Yorta community as they visit local organisations and some of the key  Indigenous programs that are successfully operating in the Murray-Goulburn region.

I think that should provide sufficient information for media outlets  to consider as a significant newsworthy event in the Indigenous calendar for 2013. For further information I can be contacted below and am available to discuss.

Dr Wayne Atkinson-Yorta Yorta, Senior Fellow,School of Social & Political Science, University of Melbourne,  waynera@unimelb.edu.au

News Media Uni Melb

Oncountry Learning Site






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