Straddie workshops – Round 2

Mitch and I returned to beautiful Stradbroke Island and facilitated some Tellin’ Country workshops for the school holidays. Once again The State Library partnered with Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) to engage the young Indigenous people on the island and we had the support of local organisation Yulu-Burri-Ba Aboriginal Corporation for Community Health who provided healthy lunches and snacks for our group each day and the use of their bus.

Jappy from Yulu-Burri-Ba Aboriginal Corporation for Community Health

It was lovely to be welcomed back by the community and young people. A couple of participants had been emailing us their video creations since last school holidays and they were really keen to build on their skills. Everyone was very confident with using iPads so, after a couple of short introduction activities, we jumped straight into our stories.

On the first day, Craig Tapp (Uncle Tappy) taught some sand painting. We had to draw our favourite sea creature on the iPads then use the design to create it in the sand. We recorded some stop-motion videos and took photographs of our creations. At the end of the day the kids danced over the pictures.

Participant Kaiala Costello creating her starfish sand painting

With the super moon as our inspiration, we imagined that the illumination of the island brought alien’s attention. We drew our alien friends and then discussed what we should tell them if we were to give them a tour around. We would tell them where to go, where not to go (sacred places), some stories of plants and animals and fun things to do. We took the bus around the island again to record videos and take photographs again.

Mitch and some participants working on their stories












Artist, Elisa Carmichael, joined the group as my substitute as I had to attend a summit in Sydney during the last 2 days. Elisa assisted young people with the audio recording and editing of their stories and did some art activities with the group.

On the last day there was a special visit from Titan’s player Clinton Toopi.  Clinton visited Dunwich Primary school as a part of the Titans for Tomorrow initiative which is a 5 week program that aims to improve school attendance.  The kids took advantage of their interviewing and recording skills to make a video.


Preston interviewing Clinton Toopi


The videos that are created will feature in the State Library’s upcoming exhibition program entitled Our Dreaming. We will also have a community celebration in the coming months to screen their stories and participants will receive a certificate and a DVD compilation of their stories.

Special thanks to Delvene Cockatoo-Collins for organising the participants and logistics of the workshops. Delvene and QYAC provide wonderful support to Indigenous young people and workshops such as these, give young ones something positive and constructive to do on their holidays whilst creating a legacy which captures local knowledge. If you would like to support future activities on the island please contact Delvene on