What’s happening at the hubs

Yarra Junction Community Hub – Monthly Blog Update (July 2021)

Just when we thought we were out of all the madness that June provided with Lockdown 4.0 and the storms that wreaked havoc on our town, Lockdown 5.0 was thrust upon us in July – but that didn’t stop our Yarra Junction Community Hub from having a great month!

The month started with our School Holiday Program, where we saw local school kids come and enjoy various activities including Jewellery Painting, Acrylic Fluid Art Classes, and the Lego Lock-In Creative Workshop.

Jewellery Painting consisted of kids painting various pieces with bright and sparkly nail polish that could then be made into necklaces, earrings, or even hair clips. It was so great to see them all show off their fancy bling when they were finished; they looked and felt fabulous! Next up we had the Acrylic Fluid Art, which turned the kids into talented artists. Using canvas and a special acrylic pouring medium, participants created works of art that left them so incredibly proud to show off their artistic creations, with one girl even capturing the beach by using blue and yellow paints – it was hard to believe that under 13yo’s produced such beautiful masterpieces! Lastly, we had the Lego Lock-In workshop, where our qualified youth worker and placement students helped like-minded kids in creating Lego masterpieces and build engineering challenges, with lunch and snacks provided – super fun and mentally challenging workshop for all!

Throughout the second week of the holidays, we celebrated NAIDOC weeks Heal Country!, where one of our Hub rooms were completely transformed into a gallery display that featured informative, cultural posters and original Indigenous First Nations Artwork. We also set up interactive activities around the room that included living native plants that could be touched and researched to see how Indigenous people’s use/d them, colouring-in activities and competition, worksheets, historical location map scouting activities, translation sheets, and a published Indigenous book about our local area that was also available for sale. We also hosted an Indigenous morning tea on the Thursday where the colouring competition winner was announced, and community members could indulge in homemade goodies including wattle seed damper, lemon myrtle biscuits, lemon shortbread, and dairy-free/gluten-free shortbread. The entire week was a great success with over 50 community members participating in the events, two pieces of artwork were sold, and all of the published books were also sold within a couple of hours. We can’t wait for NAIDOC week 2022!

Lastly, you may have noticed our maintenance crew in the hub this month. We are working on something very exciting for you all and we should be due to share it with our community early next month. Want a clue? How about, dressed for success! Keep an eye on our hub for more information or better yet, pop in and say hi and take a look for yourself.

As we wrap up for the month we reflect back on the community spirit and true nature of what it is to be in a rural town, seeing locals enjoy every moment that they can despite the hardships around, and in coming together and helping each other through the difficulties that are faced with Lockdowns and storm cleanups. Nothing can dampen the spirits of the locals, and we are looking forward to hosting more activities for everyone to enjoy!

Make sure to follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with what’s happening at the hub.

Cire hosts inspiring NAIDOC Week program

Cire hosted a rich program of events and activities to mark NAIDOC Week 2021, give voice to First Nations People and contribute to healing country by acknowledging how we can take care of the land, the seas, the people and the Country.

Our core services worked together to present the week-long offerings, commencing with an opening Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony at Chirnside Park Community Hub and concluding with a Didgeridoo performance at Mount Evelyn Children’s Centre. Yarra Junction Community hub showcased an exhibition of Indigenous art work and encouraged visitors to participate in creative activities while other sites incorporated NAIDOC Week and its 2021 theme of Heal Country into their learning programs. Some sites offered refreshments featuring Indigenous-inspired food further encouraging people to connect and reflect, share, learn and heal.

People of all ages and backgrounds participated and supported what was on offer supporting showing respect for the past, present and emerging First Nations People, the oldest continuous civilisation in the world dating back some 60,000 years.

NAIDOC Week 2021 was held from 4 to 7 July, during the school holidays and fortunately between lock downs in Victoria. Some of our activities were made possible by special NAIDOC Week funding through the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA)

At Chirnside Park,  Uncle Dave performed a traditional Welcome to Country and Smoking ceremony, Emmy from Warrack Yambo told dream time stories and helped create little echidnas out of sticks and clay, and local Indigenous woman Sandy Mayberry organised a display of beautiful hand-made artwork. Those present then worked together to create a map of Australia with their handprints in the colours of the aboriginal flag to signify unity. The children also played a traditional aboriginal game called Koolchi. Children from Cire’s Out of School Hours Care vacation program also joined in as they were fortunate to attend the Chirnside Park opening event as an excursion.

Yarra Junction Community Hub was transformed into a gallery for the week featuring informative, cultural posters and Indigenous First Nations artwork. Other activities included a display of living native plants that could be touched and researched to see how Indigenous people’s use/d them, colouring activities and worksheets, map and location scouting activities, translation sheets, and a published Indigenous book about our local area. More than 35 people enjoyed a morning tea of wattle seed damper, lemon myrtle biscuits, lemon shortbread, and dairy free/gluten free shortbread.

Mount Evelyn Children’s Centre hosted a special day on the Friday to conclude Cire’s official NAIDOC Week activities. The program included a Welcome to Country by Aunty Kim Wandin, a descendent of the Wurundjeri Tribe, born and raised nearby at Healesville, and with family links to the Corranderk Aboriginal Station in Healesville. Aunty Kim shared her story and pathways to heal her Country and also her history. It was a moving Welcome, in which she shared a gum leaf and by accepting the leaf those present promised to be positive advocates and allies for the First Nations Peoples and help care for their Country.

The Kookaburra children performed their Acknowledgement to Country which they do every day in the Kookaburra Room, but it was a particular honour to do so for Aunty Kim and visiting guests from other Traditional Lands around Australia.

Ganga Giri from Didgeridoo Australia entertained everyone with the Yidaki, (didgeridoo), had everyone up and dancing and creating animals and movements and guessing the sounds he was creating. The children were particularly excited to listen to the vibrations of the Yidaki.

To show Cire’s ongoing commitment to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities, Children’s Services Executive Director, Diletta Lanciana, explained Cire’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which will focus on inclusive and educational programs and practice and building capacity and understanding among educators.

Cire supports many events throughout the year, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram find out what’s on.


NAIDOC Week 2020: ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’

NAIDOC Week 2020: ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’

NAIDOC Week 2020 Coordinator Naomi Taylor

Cire recently reached out to all those within our reach for NAIDOC Week 2020, honouring the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This year’s theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ inspired great discussions about how privileged we are to live, work and play in a region so rich in Indigenous history, culture and connections.

Cire Community Hubs organised an engaging mix of activities to acknowledge and share Indigenous culture with some activities highlighted on our social media pages.  The Hubs team rose to the challenge of COVID restrictions to modify its original plans for face-to-face events for virtual delivery where necessary.

Toddlers at Cire Children’s Centre, Yarra Junction learned about bush tucker.  Freezing Australian mint into ice cubes created a great sensory activity for the children to explore through touch and smell.

Thanks to funding from The National Indigenous Australians Agency the Hubs team created a video featuring family-focused activities to celebrate the rich culture of Indigenous people in the Yarra Ranges and timeless connection with Birrarung (Yarra River).

Wattleseed Biscuits

Wattleseed Biscuits

With wonderful bush tucker ingredients and recipes from Murnong Mammas, we baked Wattleseed Biscuits, with Hub Coordinator, Naomi filming the process for viewers to follow at home.

We also worked with Indigenous educator, Emily Webbers from Wurruck Yambo to introduce some of the wildlife who call Birrarung home. This segment incorporated Emily’s many resources, recreating the river, the banks and the trees. We learned some local language and the ways that history intertwines with the environment through every animal and plant.

Ivor Wolstencroft

Ivor Wolstencroft

Ivor Wolstencroft, a Yarra Ranges local, shared his kayaking journey along most of the meandering length of the Yarra River.  Over 13 days, Ivor voyaged from Warburton to Williamstown in an inflatable kayak, experiencing a unique perspective of Birrarung.  The birdlife was a recurring interest along the way, so much so that Ivor created an artwork featuring a Sacred Kingfisher who he ‘met’ on his trip.

Cire’s NAIDOC Week video reminded everyone that our local area always was, and always will be an incredibly beautiful and significant part of Australia and its history.  We acknowledge and thank the traditional custodians, and we look forward to walking together towards a future of respectful curiosity and knowledge sharing.

For those keen to learn more about the Indigenous influence in our region, Yarra Ranges Council has prepared a podcast with Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Dave Wandin discussing land management.

Brooke shares spirit of NAIDOC and beyond

Wurundjeri educator, Brooke Wandin, recently injected special meaning into 2019 NAIDOC Week at Cire Children’s Services with an engaging session that captured the hearts of her young audience and staff.

Brooke is from the Woiwurrung speaking Wurundjeri-Wilam clan. Her family has been living in the area we now know as the Yarra Ranges for countless generations. Brooke introduced herself and greeted us in Woiwurrung and then shared some family photographs.

The children were particularly enthused when Brooke taught us a welcome rhyme and a wonderful Wurundjeri song which we are using to start our daily mat time. We have continued to share them with their inclusion at the end of this article.

Brooke read a beautiful story, “Wilam – A Birrarung Story”, which is illustrated by Indigenous artist Lisa Kennedy and written by respected Elder Aunty Joy Murphy and Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly.

The book captured the story of Birrarung (also known as the Yarra River), its history, the flora and fauna that live alongside it, from its source to the function it performs as a part of modern-day life. The following excerpt highlights the spirit of the book:

As ngua rises, Bunjil soars over mountain ash, flying higher and higher as the wind warms. Below, Birrarung begins its long winding path down to palem warreen. Wilam – home. 

As part of her engaging session, Brooke also taught the children a fun “traffic light” game, where each colour was written in Woiwurrung. Red meant stop, yellow meant slow and green meant go. To finish off her visit, Brooke showed the children some fantastic Woiwurrung language cards of Australian animals, such as bunjil the eagle, waa the crow, ngarrert the frog, gurrng-gurrng the kookaburra, and marram the kangaroo.

Links to the Early Years Learning Framework
Brooke’s visit was particularly relevant in the context of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), as well as respecting our rich Indigenous heritage:

EYLF Outcome 2– Community:
Children discover and explore some connections amongst people and explore the diversity of culture, heritage, background and tradition and that diversity presents opportunities for choices and new understandings

Children become aware of connections, similarities and differences between people and listen to the ideas of others and respect different ways of being and doing. Children notice and react in positive ways to similarities and differences among people

EYLF Principles: Respect for Diversity
Educators recognise that diversity contributes to the richness of our society and provides a valid evidence base about ways of knowing. For Australia, it also includes promoting a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing and being.

EYLF Practices: Cultural competence
Educators who are culturally competent respect multiple cultural ways of knowing, seeing and living, celebrate the benefits of diversity and have an ability to understand and honour differences. This is evident in everyday practice when educators demonstrate an ongoing commitment to developing their own cultural competence in a two-way process with families and communities. Educators also seek to promote children’s cultural competence.

The following are Brooke’s welcome and Wurundjeri song:

Brooke’s welcome:
Hello land (touch floor)
Hello sky (hands up)
Hello me (hug self)
Hello you and I (stretch arms out to greet friends).

Wurundjeri song:
We live on Wurundjeri land,
We live on Wurundjeri land,
Thank you Wurundjeri people
For taking care of our land!

We play on Wurundjeri land,
We play on Wurundjeri land,
Thank you Wurundjeri people
For taking care of our land!

Cire Children’s Services is one of the four core operations of Cire Services Inc.

We proudly operate a range of quality children’s services at multiple sites across the Yarra Ranges in order to meet the needs of the diverse communities we serve.

We program include long day care incorporating a funded kindergarten program, occasional care, outside school hours care, vacation care and playgroups.

We provide opportunities, skills and support for both children and families.  We believe in the individuality of each child and promote a holistic approach to education and care which encompasses the overall health and wellbeing of every child who attends our services.