Nick Abraham and students listen to the inaugural yarn, told by Auslan interpreter Cate with the help of Kalamunda Secondary Education Support Centre principal Gayle Nelson. Picture: Gera Kazakov

Kalamunda groups open a yarning circle

A yarning circle has opened at the back of the Kalamunda Scouts Hall.
July 25, 2023
Gera Kazakov

KALAMUNDA Secondary Education Support Centre, with help from Black Dog Ride Australia, First Kalamunda Scouts group and the Kalamunda RSL, have opened a yarning circle at the back of the Kalamunda Scouts Hall.

KSEC principal Gayle Nelson said that having a yarning a circle was a priority for the school, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough room for one on the school site itself.
“We formed a partnership with the Scouts to refurbish and extend this gazebo into this amazing structure,” she said.
“Our students learn best through experiences, and the yarning circle provides a setting outside of the normal classroom for students to engage with community members.
“Our programs include opportunities to meet with Aboriginal Elders and groups to help students understand the importance of Aboriginal cultural heritage,” she said.

Mrs Nelson said there will also be opportunities for students to talk with veterans with help from the RSL, and thanked Black Dog Ride Australia and Kalamunda RSL for their donations to help complete the yarning circle.
“We wouldn’t have been able to have this yarning circle without the support of some amazing community groups,” she said.

Nyoongar man and cultural guide Nick Abraham performed the Welcome to Country and traditional smoking ceremony, and said that yarning circles provide a valuable place for members of the community to get together and have a chat.

Mr Abraham said yarning circles provide a place for people to come together and have a chat on equal footing and ultimately find common ground amongst each other.
“They’re coming in to listen to one another – you might not agree with what’s said, but you still sit there and have a conversation about why you don’t agree,” he said.

But Mr Abraham said yarning circles can also be used for reflection too.
“It’s a very calming process, sitting around the campfire, having those yarns, and also reflecting on self, and some of the challenges or issues that you may have,” he said.

When asked if he had any plans to return, Mr Abraham laughed, and said he would if he was invited again, because it’s important to sit down together and have a yarn face-to-face.

“Everyone’s got a story to tell,” he said, before adding with a smile, “be it real or not.”

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