The Yiramalay Induction program is a shared beginning for both local Aboriginal students and visiting Wesley College students, as they learn and live side by side in the remote outback of Western Australia.
One community. Many cultures.
Every year, new Yiramalay students join more than 120 visiting Year 10 Wesley students to participate in the Induction Program. Each three-week Induction immerses a group of approximately 30 students in a life-changing experience of two-way learning, cultural exchange and personal growth.
Based on Bunuba country at Yiramalay’s Fitzroy Valley site, the program introduces students to the cultures and local communities of the Kimberley region. Together, they learn on country in a place of historical, spiritual and environmental significance, exploring local cultural beliefs and practices, and forming new friendships and connections to people and place.
Over the three weeks, Yiramalay students, mentors and Elders lead the Induction Program activities.
Week 1 – languages, cultures and communities
In the first week, students:
- experience local music, make bush tucker, and take part in traditional smoking ceremonies and Aboriginal art workshops
- learn about the history, languages and skin groups of the Kimberley region from local Elders
- visit the Muludja, Wangkijunka, Kulkarriya and Bayulu Community Schools.
Week 2 – sharing stories
During week two, participants:
- discover the story of Jandamarra, which further develops their understanding of the Bunuba people.
- visit local groups centred around Aboriginal law, women’s resources and Aboriginal resources, deepening their understanding of the Fitzroy Crossing community
- explore the landscapes of Bell Gorge, Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge and expand their knowledge of this unique region.
Week 3 – exploration and challenge
Before graduation, students spend their final week:
- identifying and developing highly transferrable skills on-country
- unwinding with recreational activities, including a night in Broome with a barbeque on Cable Beach, an Astrotours experience and visits to local pearl farms.
The transformative power of two-way learning
At its heart, the Induction Program encourages all participants to make reconciliation part of their own story.
Every individual who takes part in the program gains a deeper understanding of Aboriginal cultures and languages, the transformative power of connection, and what it truly means to be Australian – lessons that change the way they view the world.
Aboriginal students who graduate from the Induction Program transition into Year 10 at the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School. Here, they undertake the Senior Years Preparation Program (SYPP) before commencing Senior Years Learning Framework (SYLF) in Year 11, with the opportunity to transfer to the Victorian Certificate of Education. [Link to Pathways 2.4]
Wesley students return to Melbourne and share their experiences with their own families, friends and communities who, in turn, become part of the Yiramalay story.
“Yiramalay has made me more appreciative of my surroundings and my culture.”
“The program empowered us to return to Melbourne as advocates for respecting Aboriginal culture and supporting Indigenous education opportunities.”
“I have met new people from different lands and explored the wilderness of the Kimberley, including gorges, rivers, towns and communities. I have also learnt about the land of the Bunuba and Gooniyandi, the schooling system for remote communities, and how the people of Fitzroy Crossing live.”
"Our Year 10 students from Melbourne learn so much during their three-week Induction program at the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School. They’ve been so lucky to learn from Senior Cultural Advisor Kaylene Marr, Senior Cultural Mentor Koharna Ross and Bunuba Mentor Marilyn Oscar about the complex social and kinship structure of their language group, why the Bunuba people have skin names and their social obligations, connections and sacred laws. It’s one of the many experiences that help our students to understand the culture and world of their Aboriginal peers."