On Wednesday, local Gunditjmara elder Eileen Alberts visited the school to share her eel basket weaving skills with a small group of primary and secondary girls and female staff. Eileen told of how this traditional skill was almost lost due to fears among indigenous women that passing on such knowledge would result in their children being taken from them by the authorities. Fortunately, however, these skills were not lost and now a new generation of Hawkesdale girls are among a very select few in the entire world to know some of the basics of eel basket weaving. One day, they may even pass this knowledge on to their own daughters!
Eileen’s visit was spearheaded by Year 7 students Kiara and Caitlyn, who were very interested in Gunditjmara weaving techniques following an excursion to the Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area. Many thanks to Eileen, as well as Kiara and Caitlyn.