Learning Stones CircleSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA ,


Nova Peris OAM added 6 new photos — at Horace Petty Estate.

Beautiful Smoking ceremony today performed by Marbee Williams on Boonwurrung Country. This was also the launch of Learning Stones, the first in inner-city Melbourne. Great turnout by the community, my kids also joined in the celebration. 🖐🏾🖤💛❤️✊🏾



What a fantastic time at Lowanna College,great opening ceremony and plenty of tucker for morning tea.Ronald Edwards Smoking ceremony, Brett Windsor Principal’s address, Indigenous students who worked on the site are also pictured receiving Cert. of Appreciation.


One main focus of Learning stones is creating opportunities for student personal growth and leadership through practical application and experiences. We have asked students in our local schools to take on a mentoring/ role model/ small group discussion/ public speaking for younger students. It was marvelous to see Laura Young take on the task, she spoke well and her family and community can be proud of our youth who are stepping up. Well done Laura.




Opening ceremony 11th May 11.30am South Gippsland Specialist School

What a privilege to join with South Gippsland Specialist School as they celebrated the opening of their learning stones today. It has been 3 years in the making with a lot of help from community, parents and friends but the journey has certainly been worth the investment. The story pole painting, design and placement was done by students from both Yooralla and South Gippsland Specialist School



The Learning Stones initiative is the combined work of school and community groups to build stronger ties and greater awareness of local indigenous culture.
The Learning Stones space is for everyone – the core purpose of the area is to create a safe place for exploration and respect of self and others through education.
Learning Stones creates a forum to discuss Aboriginal history, lore and traditions in both past and present as well as contemporary lifestyle and aspirations. This is part of all our history and future and I envision a curriculum available for all students in all schools.
The Learning Stones Project at Wonthaggi Secondary College is part of the Learning Stones initiative that has been embraced by both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous in our school and local communities. Presently there are over 50 sites in various stages of development around our area. For any information please contact John Murray at Murray.john.j1@edumail.vic.gov.au

The four colours in the Learning Stones symbol are red for COMMUNITY, green for SCHOOL,
yellow for FAMILY and brown for STUDENTS. All are linked. We are all connected.

Check out the documented Learningstone journey by kindergarten teacher Kim Smith of Fish Creek Kindergarten. This is an excellent report which maps the steps over a 2 year period, from initial talks and planning to design and implementation. Finished with the official opening and subsequent use of their site.

Learning Stones - Fish Creek

Opening Ceremonies 2015

Peninsula Specialist College

Welshpool and District Primary School

Bass Coast Specialist School

South Gippsland Specialist School

Leongatha Primary School

Dudley Secondary College ( Wonthaggi )

San Remo Kindergarten

Powlett River Primary School

Community College Gippsland

Bass Coast Adult Education Center

GippsTafe Leongatha


Hasting Primary School 28th November 9.15am


Hastings PS started our Learning Stone ‘journey’ 12 months ago when we were introduced to the concept by John Murray at Peninsula Specialist School.  From that day we began planning how to make this happen for our school. Firstly, we recognised the need for funding to support the project, and which would determine how far we could take the process. With the support of our local councillor, David Garnock, we applied for and was granted a Mornington Peninsula Shire Community partnership grant of $5000. With this funding we began planning more than just a Learning Stone space, but a full cultural program based on indigenous art and history.  

 nitially we invited families of our indigenous students to participate in the planning and development of the area and the cultural experiences our students would be involved in. From this came a small, key group team who then co-ordinated and shared information. The plan was to form the garden space, install seating to ensure it was a comfortable and inviting learning space, frame it with painted totem poles and fence palings. We selected an area of the school that was in need of developing and ensured it was in the public eye so the whole community could enjoy the area, not just the school community.

Where possible we asked local businesses for support and gained great interest and donations. We ended up having donations of a beautiful large stone from Hillview Quarries, all our indigenous garden plants from Tall Trees and support from Everest Timber, Coates Hire and Tree and Stump Eaters, Hastings.

Many different groups became involved including Western Port SC, Willum Warrain, KESO educators, shire representatives, families, staff and our entire student community. Every class, of which we have 11, was given a totem pole to design and paint, as well as a Dreamtime story to interpret on canvas. This way every student in the school played a significant part in the art work. With the close collaboration of the project co-ordinators, Kirsty Bell and Adrienne Meyer, with the arts specialists and staff, it has been possible to achieve so much. The totems are in the garden now and the canvases are on public display throughout the school. A Bunjil nest, full of personal messages on painted sticks from every student, was also created during the opening this week.  There is one further very large art project to be completed early in Term 4, seeing the full expenditure of the grant.

Following the official opening of our Learning Stone Cultural Garden this week, we know all of our students are very connected to the cultural experiences they have participated in, because everyone had a part to play, not just our Koori students. Our Koori students are very proud to have lead this project in their classrooms and specialist areas, and to have accessed a wide range of people who have given us special activities profiling Koori culture.

Sue Lyons


Hastings Primary School

Tarwin Lower PS 3rd December 10.30am


Thank you for a wonderful event yesterday at Tarwin Lower Primary School. The Welcome to Country ceremony and the welcoming of Annette, Kaya and Sativa was a significant moment for our community to be a part of. The KESO staff were delightful to work with and the stories and boomerang throwing was a hit. One of my parents commented on how excellent that it was the children were being taught how to throw a  boomerang by a traditional user.

The kettle will always be put on for a cuppa for you all.


Sharyne and Staff

Sharyne Munday


Tarwin Lower and District Primary School


JLM Kindergarten Corinella 4th December 12.30pm

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Hi John. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for your support throughout our Learning Stone Project journey. We believe that this ongoing resource will be invaluable to our local community. We were really pleased with how the ceremony went and with the amount of participation from the families, we believe that these small steps will have a big impact on the success of helping to close the gap. Our objectives: To provide an outdoor learning area that will encourage conversations and appreciation of our natural environment and culture. A place where children can feel safe while encouraging a sense of belonging. A quiet area for reflection. A place for cultural discussions and to include Indigenous perspectives into the program. To encourage a project that incorporates the contributions of the whole community. An ongoing project that can be utilised in many ways to encourage Indigenous families to feel a sense of inclusion. We hope your project continues to be introduced in many more educational services.
Kerri and Annette
JLM preschool Corinella


Bass Valley Primary School 4th December 1.30pm

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Bass Valley Primary School were delighted to open our ‘Learning Stone’ area on Thursday 4th Of December with a smoking ceremony conducted by John Murray. Our Learning Stone is a great source of pride to our students, staff and school community. We were very proud that our ceremony began with Sonia Weston welcoming our school community to her country on behalf of the Boonwrung people. John then conducted a moving smoking ceremony during which all community members walked though the smoke and listened to John explain the significance of the ceremony and his hopes for how we would make use of our space. Our students love making use of the space as a place to reflect, share stories and learn about indigenous culture and history. We are also proud to have shared the day with our good friends from JLM Pre-school who conducted their Learning Stone opening immediately preceding ours. We warmly thank both John, Sonia and our other guests for sharing the day with us and look forward to welcoming them back to our school and our Learning Stone space in the near future.

Craig Liefting Bass Valley Primary

Nyora Primary School 8th December 10.30am

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Nyora Primary students had a fantastic day at their Learning Stones opening. Experiencing the smoking was great as were the related art work and dance. It will be a day they remember for a long time to come.Thanks for your involvement today. Our kids had a great day and learned a lot.
Mick Hussey
Nyora Primary School

Loch Primary School 8th December 1pm


“The opening of our Learning Stone was an important event for our community.  This space within our school grounds will provide a place where we can meet to engage not only with our indigenous history and community,

but with our community as a whole.  As a school we are looking forward to developing our Learning Stone into a place where quality teaching and learning occurs as well as it being a place for reflection and support. 

It is a place that links not only our past, but our future as well.  The mural created by our students represents or learning community and helps create an atmosphere of welcome.  Our community thanks John Murray and our Koorie Engagement Officers for their support and initiative in helping us create an important place within our school and community.”

Thanks again John.



Sharon Mitchell

Acting Principal

Loch Primary School


Cowes Kindergarten 12th December 10am


When we started the Learning Stone journey we looked at how we could make
the Learning Stone site unique and tie in with indigenous culture and the
broader community.Through discussions with John, Steve and the children, the idea was born.
With the knowledge and guidance of some talented locals we created a
unique, safe and welcoming area to come and just be.The site also reflects the significance of our surfing community and
indigenous culture. This journey has already shown how communities can come
together to create create a special place for all.*Karen Treppo – Coordinator*

Phillip Island Early Learning Centre






Students from Bass Coast Specialist school have embraced the journey involved in creating a Learning stone space. This artwork was designed in collaboration with the students after a workshop on traditional indigenous painting with John Murray. The students made sure that every family was represented in this picture about who we are and where we come from. It is not always easy to understand abstract concepts when you are managing an intellectual disability, however the conversation generated during the creation of this artwork saw students build a complex understanding of the symbolism in this piece. Students gathering around the finished product eagerly sought and identified their place in the picture and history.
We look forward to sharing the continuing journey and celebrating the sense of community that the Learning Stone is bringing to our school.
Julia Strentz
Senior School Co-Ordinator
Bass Coast Specialist School



A young fella came to us on a Monday mid-way through term 4. He had been placed in foster care over the weekend and had therefore left his previous school without the chance to say goodbye. He was extremely anxious when he arrived, very unsettled and did not speak with us while in the office. As he came through the office building into the playground he spotted our Learning Stone surrounded by an Indigenous garden and our colourful mural depicting Bunjil the eagle. With great excitement and pointing to the Learning Stone, the boy said “hey, we’ve got one of those at my old school”. He seemed to relax straight away. He ran up the Learning Stone, touched it and other children were drawn in by his enthusiasm. This young fella was not with us for long but while he was here, he seemed happy and I have no doubt that the familiarity of the Learning Stone helped him to connect with us and gave him a sense of stability, security and belonging.
Andrea Penrose
Assistant Principal
Inverloch-Kongwak Primary School – a Kids Matter school



Trish Bowler DEECD Social Worker I just wanted to let you know my small experience of utilizing the learning stones in our local schools which I have found incredibly helpful. It was identified by a student to me recently, when they were unable to participate in a group as they were having some emotional difficulties, as a place they could go and just calm. I saw it worked really well for this student. It provided a great space for this student to collect their thoughts and sit and helped them to calm. Another student for similar reasons was utilizing the space, it was great to see the student have a space to go to ‘just be’ and to calm and have some time away from others. I also noted this student was particularly interested in the feel of the pillars and the stone in the area and would roll their hand over the coldness and texture of the stones and look at the designs and students work there. This also seemed to help them to help themselves to calm and be with themselves in a quiet space. The learning stone in one particular school is at one of the main entry points to the school and so it is a constant presence in the school which I think is helpful too.


Newhaven Primary School on Tuesday 22nd July, 2014 at 10am.

Newhaven PS








Learning Stones Circle  Opening Ceremonies, 2015!

Peninsula Specialist College

Welshpool and District Primary School

Bass Coast Specialist School

South Gippsland Specialist School

Leongatha Primary School

Dudley Secondary College ( Wonthaggi )

San Remo Kindergarten



This year’s NAIDOC theme honors all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have fought in defense of country. Indigenous Elder Aunty Diane Kerr spoke eloquently as she welcomed staff to country and shared her personal story of her uncle who fought in the war but unfortunately did not return home. Pictured here is DEECD Regional Director Mr John Allman with Aunty Di at the Koorie Education Workforce PD day at the Dandenong Regional Office.