30 principals were invited to the Ration Shed museum to have an immersive experience of growing up in Cherbourg and living Under the Aboriginal Protection Act. They stayed for two days.
Manager of the North Coast Indigenous Education Department, Sally Lawrence organized the event along with the Ration Shed team.
The experience included, hearing the stories of various Elders, watching archival films, a workshop and a sleep-over on the wooden floors of a former boy’s dormitory, which forms
part of the Ration Shed Museum.
Principal of Nambour’s Burnside State School, Monique Pfingst said hearing the elders speak was an emotional experience.
“It’s really phenomenal but it’s also that element of trust,” she said.
“The elders trusted us to tell their stories and to know that we all have the same heart and want the same thing, so it’s very inspiring.”
Ms Pfingst said she intended to bring the history of Cherbourg back her school, which has 71 Indigenous students out of a cohort of 503.
“It makes you reflect on where our kids come from,” she said.
“For many of our kids it’s about that understanding of the value of family and I think we lose that sometimes.”
Ms Lawrence hoped the inclusion of Cherbourg’s history in the school curriculum would inspire Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander students.
“The idea is to help principals connect with the Aboriginal community when they are back in their schools,” Sally Lawrence said.
“It will help build cultural capability.”