Her story of connection
In December 2016 descendants of Bessy Flowers listened to her story. Aunty Phyllis is one of these descendants and she will share some of the story of her ancestor: the forced migration of the five mission girls from Albany, Western Australia, to Gippsland, Victoria, of whom Bessy’s story is the only one documented; and the emotional journey of reconnecting with the story of their ancestor, Bessy Flowers, and going into Bessy’s country.
Quilt making as a site for sharing stories.
Doris Paton will share her story of choosing quilt making as a point of connection between academic knowledge and community ways of knowing. The focus is the Woolum Bellum School
My quilts crafted with multiple layers of knowledge offer the community a visual representation of the journey. They share the narrative and knowledge in conversations and in stories. They are relational and interrelated and they interpret the issues from my ways of knowing.
My cultural ways of knowing, my guidance in reciprocal and respectful relationships, talking together in circles, telling stories in conversations, and understanding community are at the core of these ways of knowing.
This is a story I have shared with others already who believed in the possibilities for a Woolum Bellum School. Like me, they welcomed the challenges, the responsibilities that came with it to our community and Elders. And like me, the community held on to the dream that time and through listening, through learning and with knowledge, the possibility remains.
The story of Woolum Bellum (Koorie Open Door Education School) and its journey is important in the context of sharing knowledge. It exemplifies how a school like Woolum Bellum can be autonomous and how it presents a challenge as it comes to terms with what works and why. As a community we can assess the overall success of the school in terms of outcomes for the community. The benefits are seen in the generation of young people who attended the school over the past fifteen years. Their experience of schooling at Woolum Bellum as opposed to their experiences in the mainstream system amounts to significant successes.