He never raised his voice, but he was heard

Hands up anyone who can tell me what NAIDOC stands for? Hmm…that’s what I thought!


National Aborigines and Islanders Day of Observance Committee.

NAIDOC week is coming up and I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk with KPS teacher, Shelley Ware. Shelley used to run our library and now teaches the Literacy Intervention program two days a week, and Grade 6, one day a week.

What many of you probably don’t know is that Shelley is a proud Yankunytjatjara and Wirangu Aboriginal woman from South Australia.photo

Shelley, what is NAIDOC week?

NAIDOC week is a week to celebrate the history and culture of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of our nation. This year NAIDOC week is celebrated from the 7-14th July and there are activities all around Australia and all Australians are encouraged to get involved.

The theme this year is: We Value the Vision: the Yirrkala Bark Petitions, 1963. Can you tell us about that?

It’s the 50th anniversary since the Yolngu people of Yirrkala in north east Arnhem Land sent two bark petitions framed by traditional ochre paintings of clan designs to the Australian House of Representatives. They were protesting the granting of mining rights and sought recognition by the Australian Parliament of the Yolngu people’s traditional rights and ownership of their lands.

And why was this so important?

So much has come from these Yirrkala Bark Petitions. They were the catalyst for advancing changes to the Constitution in the 1967 referendum, for land rights granted by the Commonwealth in 1976, the High Court Mabo case in 1992 and, most recently, the drive to have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognised in the Constitution.


What does NAIDOC week mean to you and your family?

NAIDOC week has always been special and important to me and my family as it’s a time to stop in this busy world we live in and really celebrate being Aboriginal and all the beauty of my people. Now with my gorgeous six year old son Taj, I love to pass on my pride and all our stories. He is literally bursting at the seams with love and pride for his culture and that makes me confident about the future of our people.

How can people celebrate NAIDOC week with kids?

There are lots of fun things you can do with kids to celebrate NAIDOC week: read a dreamtime story, create your own Aboriginal Art, visit a local Indigenous sites, find out about traditional owners of your local area or listen to some Indigenous music.

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A fun thing my son and I do every year is the free Collingwood Children’s Farm NAIDOC week celebration. It’s on Thursday 11th July and goes for the whole day: there’s boomerang making, traditional dancers and stories and damper making around the fire.

photoThese posters were used to advertise National Aborigines Week in 1982. Can you tell us about them?

photophotoMy father Bob Ware (deceased) was a very prominent leader and well respected Wirangu Elder. He was a professional runner who at one stage was the fastest man in Australia. My dad was asked to be on the poster and so were my brother Aaron and I the following year.

My dad was instrumental in many Aboriginal land rights issues. He was hands on, going to Parliament and changing laws, visiting the Queen to ask her personally to clean up Maralinga, photographing and documenting our stories.

My dad was also the first Aboriginal police officer; actually the list of ‘firsts’ he achieved is long. He was a quiet achiever, only spoke when words needed to be said. He never raised his voice but he was heard.

When he passed away, people of all walks of life, from the Premier of South Australia, to the secretary he taught to read and write on the job, spoke at his service to say how happy and thankful they were to know him.

He was a father to admire and love and he had a laugh that made you giggle for hours. What my father achieved for Aboriginal people in his short 50 years is a whole other blog.

My dad is who I look up to, and I hope that one day I will do for my people what he did for us.

Thanks for sharing those great stories.

Shelley Ware and Jacqui Tomlins

You can check out the internet for other activities during NAIDOC week or look at the official NAIDOC site: http://www.naidoc.org.au

Flower Power comes to KPS: Trivia Night kicks off!

Wow! I’m having a flashback! Bright orange floral prints, macramé headbands and peace signs everywhere. I was a little young for flower power, but my older sister was a teenager bang in the middle of it and this is all very familiar. The school gym has undergone a remarkable transformation since I left it full of kids at assembly on Friday. Psychedelic lighting, retro artwork, fabulous flowers and Shagaholic Cocktails lined up on the bar!

Twenty-six tables, 250 people, and enough big hair and round sunglasses to re-recreate Woodstock: welcome to the KPS Flower Power Trivia Night.

P1060544I’m rubbish at Trivia Nights: sport, movies, popular culture, haven’t got a clue, but I’m on a good table and I reckon we might be in with a chance for the top spot.

Round 1…Ugh!…Sport. Zero out of ten for me, but the guys on my table look like they know what they’re talking about.

Round 2…TV and Movies. Ditto, but Nikki McC next to me is frantically writing so I’m optimistic.

At the break everyone has the chance to bid on the silent auction and there are a number of highly-prized offerings: weekends away, dinners out, beauty treatments, books and chocolate.P1060561

My favourite without a doubt is the kids’ artwork. Bit McLean and Carla Temple have done a fantastic job of putting together each kid’s individual painting on a broad class canvas. They look great and the bidding is fierce.P1060559P1060549

I have a moment of existential angst: the kids would be so chuffed if I came with these, but I’m not sure about buying all three and if I go home with just one…that’s not going to work. I see another mum next to me clearly grappling with the same issue; she’s got bids on two and is hovering close to make sure she’s not gazumped.P1060584

Back to business at the tables and Round 3 is…Geography. Phew! Thank God for that. DFIU we’re advised from over the table (and I’ll leave you to work that one out) and Emma R and I DFIU and manage to redeem ourselves with a swag of correct answers.

Round 4: Music. A good team effort on this one and an especially confident contribution from some of our more mature members. I think we’re doing okay, but before they announce the scores, it’s time to award the prize for Best Dressed Female and Male. Check them out :P1060606


Karen and Tony Brown win and Matt Mullins gets a special mention.

More bidding on the silent auction – some of the art works are at $200/300+ – then it’s back to the tables for the big announcement.P1060550

Our table is…second last (out of 26) which is not quite as good as I’d hoped and I’m really not sure there’s enough time left  for us to make a dash to the finish. Oh well, pour us another glass of bubbly instead…

The prize for the Best Decorated Table is awarded to the clear and well-deserved winner, Burn the bra! P1060567P1060591

Personally, I thought the corner table up the back with glow sticks and lanterns was a fantastic effort too. (Not sure if that was Yeah Baby!, Psychedelic Shagaholics, RESPECT, or High Kew IQs!)P1060562

Round 7 is Medical Science and while we pull out all the stops on this one (thanks Libby), we’re outclassed by the table of doctors next to us. Last round is School Questions and I’m embarrassed to say we do really well on this; our best effort so far. I think, maybe, we need to get out more.

Our table finishes very close to the bottom. The teachers’ table, To Sir with Love (was there ever a movie more beloved by teachers?) comes in at a very respectable third and… The Winner is…the aptly named, Woodstock Heroes!

Class 220 win the Cones prize (vast quantities of ice-cream) for the most parents present on the night (33).

After the formalities are over it’s drinking and dancing and kicking on until a visit from the friendly neighbourhood boys in blue around 1.00 am who ask us – as they would a bunch of rowdy teenagers – to turn the music down!  Oops!P1060621

The night was stupendously well organised and a huge amount of fun was had by all who attended. It was great to see the organisers’ enormous efforts rewarded by so many families turning up on the night to show support for the school. These evenings are primarily about raising money, but they are enormously important for the engagement, confidence and morale of the school community as well.

Congratulation to Claire Tanner and her huge team of helpers. Great job. Great fun. Great night. Well done!

And the big news… as we go to press money is still being counted, but it looks like the target of $20,000 was reached.

Jacqui Tomlins




You’ve just got to give it a try…

I have another confession to make; it’s not quite as big as not paying my voluntary fees, but it’s up there. It leaves me and the kids with time on our hands at the weekends and at a bit of a loss when the conversation takes a particular turn. But to be honest, I don’t lose much sleep over it and secretly I’m quite please – but I don’t say that out loud very often.

We don’t like sport in our family, watching it or playing it. There you go; I said it! It’s not that I’ve got anything against it particularly – I think it’s actually a good thing, especially for the kids – it’s just not our thing.

So it came as a surprise recently when I was watching my kids in the back yard to discover that they had some sporting skills! They could throw – in a number of different ways – and catch and bowl and bat and even dribble and pass a soccer ball. Aah, I thought, that must be Erin’s fault! And as it’s been a while since I’ve blogged about a member of staff I thought I’d catch up with our very own PE teacher, Erin Willett.

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How did you end up with us at Kew Primary, Erin?

Many people don’t remember but I started at Kew Primary School as an emergency teacher in 2009. I’d just moved to Melbourne after living in Geelong for eight years where I’d studied and gone on to teach at Leopold Primary School. I’d been a Year 5 and Year 3 teacher, as well as Year Level Coordinator and Whole School Events Coordinator.

I started doing some emergency teaching while I found my feet in Melbourne and Kew PS was a nearby school. I got many days as Kew as well as other local schools. I found I was really starting to think about switching my teaching focus from the classroom to my other passion and major at university, Health and Physical Education. A part time PE role at Richmond West Primary School was followed by my current job, PE teacher at Kew PS.


Can you tell us a little about what your job entails?

There are many parts to the job of a PE teacher. There is the day to day teaching and planning of classes across all the year levels (just as well I’m good at remembering names!), planning clinics and excursions, maintaining the school equipment, organising Interschool Sport for the senior students, overseeing the Bike Ed program and running our major carnivals, Athletics and Cross Country. It is exhausting and very fulfilling! Skills that are very important are organisation, patience and remaining calm when things don’t always go to plan. I’ve got the first two sorted and continue to work on the third!

So what’s the most important part of your job?

Encouraging participation and sportsmanship are the main focuses of my role. There are many different approaches to being a PE teacher; I choose to work hard on encouraging everyone to give their best effort always, no matter what their best is and support one another to do so.

Students need to feel emotionally safe when playing sport as well as physically. My feedback is important, but just as important is the feedback students give one another. These can both affect their self-esteem and belief about their capabilities for years to come. Adapting lessons to ensure everyone participates and experiences success is key to a meaningful physical education program.


Do you think male and female PE teachers can approach things quite differently?

I remember my PE teachers throughout my schooling and I remember having a few female high school PE teachers, but overall they were predominantly men. I don’t think there are any advantages or disadvantages either way, however I think it can be very powerful for our girls to see female roles models in positions that require a real ‘have-a-go’ approach and stepping outside the square.

I love shooting a basketball or whacking a cricket ball just as much as anyone, and often get my hands dirty! I believe if the students see that it helps show them they can do anything they want; you’ve just got to give it a try.

If you spend all day, all week, doing sport do you ever actually feel like doing any yourself?

I need to know a little bit about a lot of sports and skills, but I’m not a professional at any of them! I played tennis right through primary and high school, took up basketball at uni and then triathlon when I started teaching. I now run regularly and enjoy going to the gym when I have some energy left at the end of a school day! I’m not the best at controlling a soccer ball, and I definitely can’t always kick a footy straight, but I have a go at everything.

At school I’m not afraid to make mistakes or show the kids I’m not perfect. I hope this encourages them to try everything and not be scared if it doesn’t work the first, second or third time. Winning is one thing, but to have a healthy attitude and understanding for life is far more important in my book!

Thanks Erin, and thanks for teaching my girls how to throw and catch properly!

Jacqui Tomlins