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Knox Grammar School

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Knox Grammar School Collaborative Project with First Nations Australians, Our Innovation Hub and OPEN, Mass USA.


  • A collaborative initiative between

  • The Knox Agriculture Department

  • The Knox Science Department

  • The Knox Indigenous Program

  • The Knox Innovation Hub

  • Walgett Community College Agriculture Department

  • St Joseph’s Primary School Walgett

  • OPEN (One Planet Education Network, Boston Mass. USA)

This collaboration has been evolving over 3 years, initially with OPEN and the Knox Aboriginal Program and Walgett Community College and local elders in Walgett led by Mr Luke Farr.

Future Communities and re-establishing the importance of traditional cultures and knowledges as the building blocks of a more sustainable future and the key to Reconciliation and a connection to the 2021 Theme of “Heal Country’.

The journey incorporates a partnership between:

The partnership aims to:

1. Empower the wellbeing of our students to connecting them to traditional practices.

2. Connect the students in a meaningful way of learning from elders teaching the boys in traditional ways of farming, bush food and bush medicines.

- We have since connected with OPEN and the Innovation Hub here are so the

boys and elders learn the revival and impact of the renewal traditional

farming and knowledges as a link to care for the earth and a solution to

our climate crisis.

The partnership also aims to:

1. Identify the connected links in curriculum, technology, data and indigenous knowledges and cultures and establish the connected Aboriginal communities of knowledge in Australia (and through OPEN in traditional communities in Liberia, Kenya, DRC, Malawi, Nigeria, Jamaica, Trinidad, Colombia, and Hawaii).

2. To advance the traditional knowledge as a way of conservation, farming, and medicines and monitor that with science, gather data and hence look home regenerative thinking and companion use of ground cover, the use of firestick burning, will reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere and through research data from the CO2, the light and moisture sensors will support this.

3. Connect these knowledges with science (gateways, sensors,) to compare successful practices at both the Waratah Bush Garden at Knox and the Walgett Community High School Agriculture Plot.

4. The Uncle Luke Farr and Uncle Clarence Bruinsma will demonstrate and pass on the traditional knowledges to both schools using these state-of-the art IoT technologies.

5. To connect with local elders to explore the traditional history of the areas around Knox Grammar School.

This has led to the development and completion of the Waratah Bush and Cultural Garden at Knox this year. This area, supported by funds from the Waratah Project is the rear garden of a house of a Knox property and has been build collaboratively by the Knox Gardeners and Maintenance Departments and has been left untended as the aim is that the boys identify any weeds, any plants that have grown over the past 5 months and to ensure that the soil has no pesticide or other contamination for the establishment of the traditional foods of:

- Salt bush

- Bush tomatoes

- Lily Pily

- Kangaroo and Mitchell Grass

- Murnong/Yam daisy

The Waratah Bush Garden has the following

- A green house

- 2 raised gardens

- A traditional ground level garden bed

- A firepit and a yarning circle area (to be established post Covid) due to the boys not able to access and work on the plot outside their Covid Bubble. Uncle Den Barber is both qualified and works in firestick burning and will illustrate how the use of potash, fire etc will enhance the development and health of soils and native plants as well as engage the cultural training of the boys in the area where a yarning circle will sit in the middle of the Waratah Bush Garden

With the guidance of Mr Luke Farr ( bush foods and medicines), Uncle Waylon Boney https://gurrawin.org/ ( lore and artefacts) Uncle Den Barber https://www.yarrabin.com.au/services ( an expert in firestick burning) our Cultural Mentors and Uncle Clarence from Bush to Bowl https://www.bushtobowl.com/

Our long term aims are:

  • Reconnecting Aboriginal bush food, agricultural practice, and bush medicine with science

  • Using Sensors (light and moisture) in bush garden areas in Walgett and Knox -

  • Using Gateways for data collection to determine the resilience of ground cover and soils

  • Promote sustainability in our changing environment whilst engaging traditional practices supported by science as a demonstration of care for the environment and reviving of traditional cultural practice which enabled Australia’s First Peoples to successfully sustain/maintain/ nurture themselves and their environment for at least 65,000 years!

  • Give young students the knowledge and understanding of how to care for and the importance of stewardship of our environment and how such care is demonstrated by First Nations histories and cultures across all continents!

Helen Clarke

Head of Diversity, Justice and Stewardship

Knox Grammar School

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