Lessons for everyone after visit to Wanalirri

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 23-4-2008

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Broome Campus

Publication Place



A trip to the Wanalirri Catholic School has reminded Broome Campus Education lecturer Panda Gardner of the rewards of teaching in remote communities.

A former teacher at Wirrimanu, Ms Gardner visited the Ngallangunda community, 400km north east of Derby on the Gibb River and taught the primary school class for four days while the school’s principal, Sr Nola Goodwin rsj, attended a principals’ conference in Broome.

“It was good to learn about the Ngallangunda culture,” Ms Gardner said.

“The Wandjina is very important to the community, but it was great to hear the children’s dreamtime stories about Dunbi the owl too.”

Ms Gardner said Broome musicians, The Pigram Brothers, had written a song for the school laden with cultural references and thanks to the children’s singing she also learned dreamtime stories about two boys finding a kangaroo and the tree with whiskers.

“During this trip I definitely felt like I learned just as much from the experience as the children did from me,” she said. “I try to emphasise this two way learning experience to my Bachelor of Education students. So I will now pass this knowledge onto them.”

Ms Gardner said Bachelor of Education students were encouraged to undertake their practical placement in remote community schools like Wanalirri.

“In the past students have travelled to Wirrimanu and Ringer Soak’s Birlirr Ngawiyiwu Catholic School,” she said. “Hopefully the Broome Campus can continue to strengthen our links with the remote Kimberley schools.”

Media contact

Mike Doyle 9192 0668.