By Inara Hossain
On Tuesday the 20th of October, year nine woke up before dawn to make their way to school before 5:30 to commence our Songlines experience. There were five groups each with their own colour and animal, I was in the red group represented by a kangaroo. In this article, I’ll go through each day in the first week and its activities. (Quick disclaimer: each group had a different and unique timetable and some things that my group did others didn’t and some activities other groups did we didn’t.)
On the first day, we went down to the oval after finding out our groups to have a sunrise liturgy. It was raining so we couldn’t really see the sunrise, but it was still really peaceful. After we had our liturgy, we had a Smoking Ceremony and a Welcome To Country performed by Uncle Laurie. The smoke cleansed us and prepared everyone for a fortnight of fun and excitement. After the ceremony, we had a quick breakfast to fuel us for the day ahead. After breakfast, we gathered in the gym for an opening speech to Songlines by Ms Ugonotti and then travelled back to our group rooms for some fun games. We then went back to the gym to be given an inspirational and informative talk by Stan Grant. After Stan Grant's speech, we all participated in some fun team building activities which included trying to light a fire, dancing and playing fun games.
On the second day, we travelled to Muogmarra where we did a bushwalk up a mountain and walked around looking for engravings in the sandstone. It was really cool to see engravings left behind from all those years ago, still here for us to see. When we went back to school, we got a lecture on Star Gazing and how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples used the stars to map out the land. After that, we had a campfire and roasted marshmallows which was really great since it was freezing. We were going to stargaze as well but ran out of time since the stars didn’t fully come out by when we were leaving, which was at 8 pm.
On the third day, we went Narrabeen to do some community service. We walked around as a group to pick up trash near and around a lake and had a competition to see who could find the most trash. We also learnt about microplastic by collecting samples from the sand on the shore. We then went into some bush and started digging and cutting out weeds to protect the natural plants from the invasive parasitical weeds. It was really tiring but, in the end, I can safely say that everyone felt good about doing their small part to help the community.
Finally, on the final day of week 1, we went to Camp Somerset. We started by doing some small team building games and then getting changed into our clothes that could get dirty to really start the fun. After getting changed we went to the lake and built a raft from the materials given and then rowed a little through the lake. After we made our rafts, we played some fun beach games on the sand, making us all really sandy. After a quick break, we went to the wombat hole. The wombat hole was this tunnel-like thing filled with muddy floors and sprinklers going off in our faces to create more mud. It was a small contained space, so you had to crawl yourself through, while it was extremely fun it was also pretty painful since the floor was rough and all of us had aching elbows and knees since they were all scratched. No matter the pain it was extremely enjoyable. After the wombat hole, we did a difficult yet fun obstacle course.
In summary, week 1 of Songlines was one of my best experiences. Not only was it fun, but I also learnt a lot about myself and my capabilities. This experience was a great time to branch out to create new friendships and further expand on already existing ones. I would like to thank all the teachers that put so much of their time and energy into making this experience the best it could be with COVID preventing us from going to Queensland. Even though this experience wasn't FNQ it still had the same values at heart and still served its purpose.