Creating stories in Spinifex Country

Creating stories in Spinifex Country

Two of Australia's top writers and illustrators, Sally Morgan and Ann James, lead the Spinifex Writing Workshop in Tjuntjuntjara, Australia's most remote community, 550kms east of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, last week.

Students aged from 9-12 years old travelled from as far as Mount Margaret, Menzies and Firbank Grammar in Victoria, to participate and learn new ways of illustrating and writing stories. The week-long camp included workshops in the classroom, camping under the stars at Ilkurlka, eating bush tucker (including a freshly caught Bush Turkey) and visiting local salt lakes and fossil sites.

At the end of the week, the students learnt how to put their own book together and produced a fabulous range of stories that included giant goannas, snakes, dogs, wombats and dinosaur bones.  On Sunday night, at a special community celebration, Tina Raye, our Program Manager, invited the local community members to look at the students' work and to choose a book from the ILF bush library.  

The week could not have been possible without our many generous sponsors and the hard work of the organisers and all the teachers and community members who attended. 

Our special thanks goes to AngloGold Ashanti Australia who kindly sponsored airfares & accommodation; Mr Havelberg, Principal of Tjuntjuntjara RCS and Lorraine Davies, a local community member.

  • The camp has increased the capacity of local writers and illustrators to produce locally based books that will promote reading and improved literacy outcomes amongst indigenous students from a range of communities.  It was a  positive learning experience for all involved.

    Daniel Havelberg, Principal Tjuntjuntjara RCS



      I can’t believe we fitted so much into five days. One goal was for the kids to create illustrated stories to be published by the ILF.  Though making the books was a focus, they were actually the catalyst for a much bigger story.   The kids’ creative energy infused their work as much as their play – the library was home camp and workstation.   And later, the Bush camp was an extra creative environment!

      Over five days they planned their books, grew their paper clay characters, drew their pictures, tasted bush turkey, made damper, played softball, and dug for maku. Inside, outside, day and night, by sunlight and firelight, they stayed so full of creative energy whether drawing on paper or in the salt lake sand, cooking up stories or competing in the camp oven cook-off, racing round bushes in the red dust or racing to the picture book finish line … they did it all! They were witty, wild and wonderful and reveled in each others support and company. It was lovely too, working in tandem with such caring and positive adults. The atmosphere reflected the Tjuntjun  environment – breezy, relaxed, generous and friendly.

    Ann James, Illustrator & Writer


  • Posted 30 June, 2015

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