Remembering Indigenous Servicemen and Women

This NAIDOC week’s theme is Serving Country: Centenary & Beyond.  If you are fortunate enough to live in Canberra (or can travel there), you can visit the Australian War Memorial and learn from Aboriginal Veteran Gary Oakley.  We had Gary come out and speak to our school assembly and he was an engaging and powerful speaker.  Both staff and students got a lot out of the presentation, and his relaxed style makes students feel comfortable.

Gary also has materials he can share such as war poetry by Indigenous servicemen.  Highly recommend you investigate for English/History units:

1994. Australian War Memorial Educational Series. “Too dark for the light horse : Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people in the defence forces” / compiled by Judy Crabb, researched and written by Judy Crabb, Trevor Geary, Suzy Nunes and Gary Oakley, edited by Madeleine Chaleyer.
ph. +61 (02) 6243 4211

Media links – Triple J stories on Indigenous affairs

National youth radio station Triple J’s Hack program often includes stories relating to Indigenous affairs.  The podcasts are available for download and sometimes there are videos to accompany stories.

Here are some of my picks, on various topics.  The short sound grabs and videos are always useful for discussion starters in the classroom.

Bush bands

Charcoal lane, Melbourne, Archie Roach, community

Josh Sibosado, Footballer

Leaders, Largest Urban Indigenous population, Miimali program

Music, Hip hop

Music, Yung Warriors

NT Intervention

Politics, future leaders


QLD Rivers

Racism, Aussie Entertainment Industry


Women workers in Alice Springs

Lesson plans: Jali Boy by Ricky Macourt

The Yarning Strong series by Laguna Bay Publishing, an Oxford University project, features stories written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers on subjects such as identity, family, law and land.  The books are suitable for upper primary to lower secondary and are relatively simple in presentation and language, though some scaffolding will still be required.  Jali Boy in particular has some rich language that needs to be unpacked for kids, as well as conversational language that plays on Aboriginal English.

The Yarning Strong series can be purchased in packs in the abovementioned topics of identity, family, law and land (containing all the Yarning Strong novels plus an anthology of poems, artworks, historical information, primary sources and plays).

Teacher guides are also available for purchase and contain fantastic little clips which could be shown at staff meetings as part of cross-cultural awareness training.

Ricky Macourt is a Gumbaingirr man   from the north coast of NSW.  As a teenager  he spent six years at St Joseph’s College in Sydney. After completing a law degree at Bond University, Ricky began working in Canberra in 2012 in a Federal government department.

At the end of 2011, my school were lucky enough to have Ricky come in and run a 2 day writer’s workshop, culminating in an anthology of the students’ stories.  Before Ricky came, we studied Jali Boy, and here are my lesson plans for the novel study.  These plans are for lower secondary students who require support in literacy.

Yarning Strong lesson plans for Jali Boy

Find out more about Yarning Strong at

Hear a feature about Ricky on Triple J’s Hack: