Last week marked the history-making performance of the Australian National Anthem in Yugambeh language, by the Wallaroos Rugby Team before playing the Japanese Women's Rugby Union team at Bond University. On Wednesday afternoon, 11 May, QAHS was privileged to welcome the person responsible for this, Mrs Candace Kruger, proud Aboriginal woman and traditional owner of the Yugambeh language region, to speak to our Year 12 Future Health Leaders.
Candace's family are the Kombumerri (Gold Coast) and Ngughi (Moreton Island) people. She is a Yugambeh yarabilgingan (song woman), the founder and director of the Yugambeh Youth Choir, and the author of multiple textbooks on language. She is an honorary lecturer at the University Queensland School of Music, sits on the Indigenous Advisory Board at Griffith University, and is currently assisting educators incorporate more authentic Indigenous connections into the curriculum - teaching teachers Aboriginal culture, language and song. A lullaby sung to her as a child, formed the backbone of her composition 'Morning Star and Evening Star' adopted and performed by the Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB) Online Orchestra late last year. You might even recognise her from past Bleach festivals, and the 2018 Commonwealth Games Ceremonies. Candace is also the mother of Isobella Kruger (Class of 2018), whose artwork Gaureiman ngalingah greets visitors to the QAHS Lecture Theatre. QAHS was delighted to have Candace squeeze us into her extremely busy schedule last week, between community engagements, university task groups and flying to outback regions of NSW.
On Wednesday, Candace spoke of the Yugambeh language evident 'in plain sight' – the Aboriginal place names used for suburbs and streets in our region, acting as a constant reminder of our First People's heritage. The importance of spiritual connections to this place and its creatures, was also explained – with a dolphin encounter and the story of Gowanda, one of the highlights. Candace's anecdote about choosing musical sticks was another of the stories that offered a gentle and humorous glimpse into Aboriginal culture and its ongoing connection to this land. These stories and shared cultural perspectives form an important component in developing our young people's pride in our First People's history and culture - an important step as we continue towards a reconciled Australia.
Please find the following account of Candace's influence, from one of the attendees:
“On Wednesday the 11 May, students of the Future Health Leaders program had the honour of experiencing a First Nations Peoples' Cultural Protocols workshop with Aboriginal Song woman Candace Kruger. Candance was a spectacular speaker, sharing with us the beauty of Indigenous Australian culture through the exploration of dream time stories, personal anecdotes, and music. The experience was lifechanging and provided me with an enriched understanding and appreciation for Indigenous culture that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Candance made us all feel welcome through her passion and inspiring wealth of knowledge – allowing for students to develop a close, incomparable understanding of Indigenous Australian culture. It was a privilege to have Candace share her love of music and intimate connection to her culture with us. I believe that I will take the invaluable learnings Candace cultivated through this experience with me into the latter years of my life working as a Health Professional in Australia."
Year 12 Student
Thank you, again Candace, from our Future Health Leaders, and the QAHS community.
TOK Co-ordinator, Psychology and English teacher