In the last week of July, a small ILF crew, along with our Program Evaluators, took to the Barrier Highway to launch Faith Baisden’s new books in NW NSW. The program visit was over three days and involved media interviews with the Barrier Daily Truth and Broken Hill ABC Radio, visits to potential partners and most importantly, the delivery of workshops in Menindee and Wilcannia with kids aged 5-10 years old. Working with local elders and literacy educators, Murray Peters and Kaylene Kirwin, even our small group began to master some Paakantji language. The kids loved the stories, music and songs that were written by Faith to introduce new words. On this trip we delivered over 150 book packs and additional sets of books.
All field trips have their challenges. On one memorable Kimberley trip, some of our team were struck by a bout of food poisoning; on another, one Board member was viciously attacked by bed bugs. This particular journey was no different. At the beginning of the trip, we were enormously saddened by the tragic news from our workshop leader and author, Faith Baisden, that her father had died. Without Faith’s dedication and preparations, the ILF workshops would not have gone ahead and that is a real tribute to Faith and her father who encouraged her to write and be her best. Faith has been working with our project since 2010 and we have benefited from her wide professional interests and work. Whether it is working on the fantastic children’s published under Binabar Books or advising the Eastern States Aboriginal Languages Group which seeks to preserve Indigenous languages, Faith is and has been a real inspiration.
It was great to have the opportunity during this field trip to work with a young Aboriginal teacher from St Andrew’s Cathedral School, Annie-Renae Winters. Annie’s skills and flair in the classroom ensured that the workshops with Lenny and the Big Red Malka and No Tharlta on the Bus were a huge success and she was a great hit with students and teachers alike.
Lenny and the Big Red Malka and No Tharlta on the Bus were produced with the support of the Copyright Agency Limited.
*Note too, if you’re admiring any of the images shown on our website or Facebook, these pictures were taken by Prudence Upton, one of Sydney’s outstanding photographers. Prudence has worked in a volunteer capacity for our project since its first public event and contributed her time and work ever since. Prudence has been with us on two field trips and somehow always manages to take a winning photograph… or 10.