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The School

Wollongong is a beautiful seaside city nestled between the dramatic Illawarra escarpment and the Tasman Sea, located only an hour’s drive south of Sydney. The City of Wollongong local government area is represented by a Council comprising a Lord Mayor and 12 Councillors. Both the Lord Mayor and the Councillors are popularly elected by people enrolled on the Commonwealth electoral roll. 

The Project

On June 28, Kirli Saunders provided an overview of the Poetry in First Languages, Dharawal project and shared a poetic reading and reflection for the 120 participants of the WCC Reconciliation Conference. Under her guidance, participants then created collaborative poems, reflecting on their learnings from Elders and community throughout the conference. 

Read the workshop poems here

The Poet

Kirli Saunders

Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai Woman and an award-winning international Children’s Author and Poet as well as a Teacher, and emerging Artist. She created and led Red Room Poetry's Poetry in First Languages program from its conception until July 2020. Her debut picture book The Incredible Freedom Machines was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards and CBCA notables. Her poetry collection, Kindred was shortlisted for the ABIA 2020 Book Awards and FAB Booktopia Awards. She is the inaugural winner of the Daisy Utemorrah Award and University of Canberra ATSI Poetry prize (2019). She is an esteemed judge for the Val Vallis Poetry Prize. Kirli is the 2020 NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year.



Taking a dream from conception to delivery – Poetry in First Languages – Kirli Saunders