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The School

Jervis Bay School is committed to excellence for all in a safe, caring, challenging and inclusive environment which provides relevant learning activities that will develop self-directed independent learners and international citizens who will positively contribute to their local and wider communities.

The Project

Developed by Gunai poet Kirli Saunders and delivered by Red Room Poetry, Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) celebrates, shares and preserves knowledge of First Nations languages and culture through poetry, music and art.

On 15 August, Bundanon Trust Writer in Residence, Kirli Saunders took students from Jervis Bay School through the new resource, specific to Yuin Country. Kirli worked alongside local Gumea Dharawal language custodians Jacob Morris and Adrian Webster. Students were connected to First Nations Poets and Custodians on Country, strengthening the connection to Country, language and community to empower students to feel pride in their cultural identities.

Poetry in First Languages is supported by the Commonwealth through the Australian National Commission for UNESCO of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is proudly supported by Graeme Wood Foundation, Geoff Ainsworth AM & Johanna Featherstone, Copyright Agency, and generous individuals.

On Yuin Country, PIFL is also supported by Bundanon Trust, Participants in the Australia Council’s 2018 Arts Leaders Program and the Graeme Wood Foundation.

Read the poems here

The Poet

Joel Deaves

Joel Deaves is a Gumea Dharawal man and Dharumba Dhurga descendant from the Yuin people. Joel began learning language from his uncle and, with his cousin Jacob, set a path on which he hasn’t looked back. From the learning of his language, Joel’s passion grew for continuing and returning his culture, not just for him but for his family as well. In his spare time Joel is with family, speaking and restoring the Gumea Dharawal language with Jacob Morris and Adrian Webster or walking on Yuin Country with his cousins, continuing their connection to the land just as their old people did. Joel has been commissioned for the Poetry in First Languages project for Red Room Poetry.