BSSC Indigenous students were among 15 young Aboriginal men from Bendigo’s state secondary colleges to attend a cultural camp at DOXA on the outskirts of Malsmbury in February.

Funded by PaCE program (Parent and Community Engagement) and the four secondary colleges, the camp offered our male Indigenous students the opportunity to learn more about the local Aboriginal history and culture from the Dja Dja Wurrung perspective and promoted further education and future employment opportunities.

Uncle Ron Murray from Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation ran a session with the young men about significant male role models in our community and influential men from across the nation since colonisation. Students learnt about the struggle their ancestors endured to bring about important change and influence Aboriginal rights.

The young men were also exposed to traditional stories from the dreaming and were able to ask questions about community and identity.

All the students and staff got involved in making string from the stringy bark tree, grinding stone for the axe head and making traditional glue/adhesive from ground charcoal, kangaroo dung and spinifex powders. The camp culminated with the ‘leap of faith’, which involved climbing a nine-metre pole and leaping from it to be caught by the rest of the team below.

Our own Travis Matheson was one of the teachers who supported the boys at camp.

“From my perspective it was such a memorable experience,” Travis said. “I was able to gain so much insight into Indigenous culture. We hope this camp will become a yearly event for our Indigenous young men.”