Friday 28th January 2022

Learning More About My Country, Australia. 11/2021.

Learning More About My Country, Australia. 11/2021.

As I write this post for sharing tomorrow, it is 26 January 2021, Australia Day. I ask that you read the highlighted areas below before going on.



Content within is about Indigenous Australians and there may be readers affected by images or references of people who have died. In this case, please be aware.

And, I appreciate content here may be for some readers, controversial or they may hold strong views which are not in keeping with the learning I am doing as I share. In this case, it is recommended that you do scroll on and perhaps not comment. I remind you that I can delete comments if not in keeping with my blog’s purpose. Thank you for your understanding. Denyse.



For much of my life, 26th January,  has been known to me as day of commemoration. It’s when a flotilla of English Boats led by Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in Sydney Harbour in 1788 and claimed it ‘as a territory of England’ …or words to that effect. The boats were manned by sailors and many had convicts aboard who would be prisoners in this colonial outpost of Mother England where gaols were filling. The stories of this are many, and I leave them to your research and interest.

What I have known for some time, however, is this. Australia’s east coast, where Captain Cook had landed in 1770 and declared it a place for habitation and settlement, was already populated.

There were indigenous Australians: Aboriginal people, had come from many places from the north, to make different parts of our wide brown land….home.

Today, 26 January 2021 I was delighted to see two flags representing Australia flying. We “still” do not have the best or perfect or representational flag but we do tend to see these two more and more.

Teacher Me Needs to Learn More.

Whilst I have known that I may have some Aboriginal heritage, and by appearance alone there are several members of my family, on Mum’s side who already could be claiming this. They are not. For their own reasons. Nothing by the way is verified as was often the case, because of the shame of Aboriginal heritage of yesteryear and the very real threat of children being taken ‘for their own good’ by church groups and welfare.

I have been, for the past few years, recognising my own likely heritage and wanting to learn more and accept what it is for me.

Books and Stories.

Many sites have books and resources. This is but one:

I have read and listened to books by Stan Grant, June Winch and Bruce Pascoe.

One by Anita Heiss is a compilation of Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia. Others by Dr Marcia Langton.

I found this site and then bought the map I show here.

And I liked what I could learn about here.

About My History.

From the AIATSIS Map: I am adding place names for where I have lived and taught, then the Aboriginal Country or land name next to it.

Born over 70 years ago, in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.

Wollongong 1949-1959. Tharawal country.


With “my’ Papa. It is his line of heritage that we believe is of Aboriginal descent. South Coast N.S.W.

Sydney: 1959-1969. Eora country.

Specifically: Balgowlah Heights, close to Manly, a first place named in the early days of the Colony for the Aboriginal Men’s appearance. Near my then home is Arrabanoo Lookout, named for an Aboriginal person. Right next to Tania Park, Dobroyd.

Barraba, 1970 North Western N.S.W.: Kamilaroi country.

Just up the road to school!

Maules Creek, Boggabri, 1971-1972.  North Western N.S.W.: Kamilaroi country.

Merriwagga, South Western N.S.W.1973-1975 & Hillston. Wiradjuri country.

Weilmoringle, Far North Western N.S.W. 1976-1977. Muruwari country.

Where Our Daughter Started School & we were her teachers.

Kellyville, north-western area of Sydney. 1978-1993. Bella Vista 1994-1998. Glenwood 1998-2015. Dharug Country

Schools where I taught and lead:

Cherrybrook P.S. 1978.

Jasper Road P.S. Baulkham Hills, 1978-1982.

Walters Road P.S. Blacktown,  1983-1984.

Seven Hills West P.S., 1985-1987.

Shalvey P.S. 1988-1998

Rooty Hill P.S. 1998

Richmond P.S. 1999-2003.

Kellyville Ridge P.S. 2004-2010.

Hebersham P.S. 2007

  • In each of the schools above there were and are, students of Aboriginal heritage and who identify as Aboriginal. The majority are from the schools I have marked by highlighting in black. The other schools would definitely have some but nowhere near the numbers from the others.


  • What is significant now, and even in some of the years I was a member of that school community is the identification of students and the assistance, where required given that can boost learning and more. There are likely to be people from the local indigenous groups working with students and staff in the school to have a better understanding of history, language and needs.


  • I assisted in the establishment of Aboriginal community groups within our local schools’ communities, supporting them as needed until independence was established. It meant the ownership and actions lay with the local community representatives.


  • Some of these people, through other agencies and groups, were appointed to school selection panels to approve employment of people in teaching and leading who were, by their estimation, deemed to have understanding of and commitment to the Aboriginal education policies of the employer.


  • In 1976-1977, Weilmoringle P.S. was already doing this. My husband, the teaching principal, and I was the second teacher and we had an Aboriginal person as teaching assistant. The community also helped us (as we did them) with cultural understanding, and more. Now, I see some decades later, the school continues to thrive and those same families are continuing to help the kids of the school, and their community.

Where We Live Now. Northern end of N.S.W. Central Coast. Darkinjung country.

I know something about the place where we live now. I know the first peoples used the river and the sea to feed themselves and the bush around them to have shelter. I know too, that I need to learn more and I am committed to doing so via more local research and understanding.

I think, as a senior Australian citizen, I not only want to do this but need to. Ignorance should no longer be an excuse.

I do not have a firm view on changing of the Australian flag at this point, as I see my English and Scottish history within. I would like the way in which we come together as Australians of all kinds to be inclusive and understanding. Will it happen in my life time? I am not sure. I know my daughter will be definitely hoping it happens in hers and that of her children.

I shall see.

I hope to be better educated.

We shall be respectful of each other as change occurs.

Have you noticed what I have written here at the base of my blog?

If you can see the areas on the maps, can you find, if you are from this area, where your country is and what it’s called?


Denyse wishes to acknowledge the Darkinjung people as Traditional Custodians of the land on which this blog is written.

Linking up with Leanne here for Lovin’ Life on Thursday.

Joining in with Weekend Coffee Share with Natalie here on the weekend.