Wominjeka: The Thank You Workshop

Australian history incursions: shows & workshops for primary and secondary schools
Colonial, Indigenous & Reconciliation

Wominjeka: The Thank You Workshop

Curriculum
Year 4 (First Contact), 5, 6 and secondary
Australian Studies/History
Colonisation, impact on Indigenous communities, Reconciliation
& the on-going relationship between black and white Australians.

Cost
$5 per student
Minimum $500 per workshop (90 mins)
Travel/accom/road toll costs may apply in some locations

See MP3s below to listen to the song

Aboriginal,Torres Strait Islands and Australian flag

“The workshop sessions were invaluable, providing a context for students to understand the thousands of years of complex story within the song – inspiring dignity, awareness, understanding and appreciation as well as lots of laughs!” (Thias Sanson, Castlemine PS)

 

Wominjeka: The Thank You Workshop

Wominjeka means ‘welcome’ in the Wurundjeri and Dja Dja Wurrung languages of Melbourne and central Victoria, and in this workshop I teach a song of respect for Indigenous people (listen & read lyrics below).

Within this musical experience students come to understand many stories of black-white contact, welcoming, conflict and reconciliation, including:

  • How Indigenous ceremonies compare with our customs of welcome and laws of visas and passports
  • Aborigines and First Fleet soldiers dancing together
  • The Woiwurrung welcome for John Batman when he came in 1835 to ‘purchase’ the land that is now Melbourne
  • Jan’s personal experiences with Aboriginal people, their hospitality and welcoming

 

As well as historical sources I also draws on the many book, radio, film, CD and music projects I’ve worked on with Indigenous Australians.

Students learn about respect for other cultures and to take responsibility, without guilt, for our history.

How It works

*   I teach students to sing the song & tell them the stories embedded in the lyrics
*   Students offer their ways of welcome and compare with Indigenous customs
*   Discussion of issues raised by the song and stories
*   Song is recorded to CD, which the school keeps

Schools may use the song later in concerts and other occasions, and as a dignified response to Indigenous Welcome to Country.

Recommendations, audio & lyrics below

Links
Enquiries & bookings
See choir singing song in 0pening Ceremony of the 2009 Castlemaine State Festival

Thank You for the Welcome
Words & music: Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky © 2009

Listen to song (Jan solo version):

Verse 1

Thank you for the welcome to your country
Thank you for the welcome to your land
Can we two walk as one underneath this sun
Thank you for the welcome to your land.

Verse 2

Thank you for the welcome to your country
Thank you for the welcome to your land
Can we two walk in peace by your shining creeks
Thank you for the welcome to your land.

Middle 8

Some of us came in chains, some with a Bible or a gun
Some to make our fortune some came for the sun
Some of us sought refuge to start our lives anew
In this in this old land
In this in this old land.

Chorus

Wominjeka, wominjeka, wominjeka (Wurundjeri & Jarra version)
Bin barre barne, Bin barre barne, Bin barre barne (Wathaurong version)

Middle 8

Some of you shed your blood when the whale boats hit the sand
Some of you danced with us, dancing hand in hand
Some of you were stolen from your home when you were young
In this in this old land
In this in this old land.

Verse 3

Thank you for the welcome to your country
Thank you for the welcome to your land
Can we two walk with love under the stars above
Thank you for the welcome …

Chorus

Wominjeka, wominjeka, wominjeka
Bin barre barne, Bin barre barne, Bin barre barne
Thank you for the welcome to your land.

Notes
Wominjeka means welcome in the language of the Wurundjeri people of the Melbourne area and the Dja Dja Wurrung people of central Victoria. Bin barre barne means welcome in the Wathaurong language of the Geelong area.

When sung in the country of other Aboriginal languages, the local word for welcome can be included. Please consult with local Indigenous people.

The dancing referred to in stanza three took place three days after the First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson in 1788. The white colonists were mapping the harbour, and a group of black Australians cheerfully called them ashore. A painting by Luit. Bradley records what then happened: under the trees by the beach, they all – black and white – held hands and danced.

 

Enquiries & bookings

 Recommendations

Dear Jan,

The whole school community was moved by the students singing your ‘Thank You For The Welcome’ song in Reconciliation Week.

Parents commented on how the 3-6 students were so focused on the singing, really enjoying it, with such integrity, as they sang it for the Jarra elders.

The two workshop sessions were invaluable, providing a context for students to understand the thousands of years of complex story within the song. On behalf of the teachers who had the privilege to sit in on your workshops, we thank you for engaging the students in such rich sessions of storytelling – inspiring dignity, awareness, understanding and appreciation as well as lots of laughs!

 Thais Sansom

Performing Arts Teacher, Castlemaine South Primary School

Dear Jan,

I want to express my thanks for your role in the 2009 Castlemaine State Festival. Your idea to dedicate a work of thanks in response to the Jarra Welcome to Country was thoughtful and progressive. The occasion was moving and profound. As the Minister for Arts Lynne Kosky announced, it was the best Welcome to Country she has ever experienced.

Again my thanks to all involved.

Martin Paten
Festival Director, Castlemaine State Festival

Dear Jan,

I am happy to provide a recommendation to Jan Wositzky’s ‘Wominjika: The Thank You Workshop’.

I’m a Wamba Wamba man (Swan Hill, Victoria) living near Castlemaine in central Victoria, on Jarra Country. Acknowledging Country is part of my protocol as an Aboriginal person, when I am performing on another person’s land.

The Castlemaine State Festival opening incorporated a Welcome to Country by Jarra traditional owner, Uncle Brien Nelson; myself giving an Indigenous acknowledgment of Uncle’s Welcome; and Jan’s song ‘Thank You for the Welcome’ – a non Indigenous thank you and acknowledgment of Country.

As I said during that ceremony, “It takes someone special to write a song like this one”, and Jan has done something special here.  I believe Jan’s proposal to run workshops in schools which aim to teach this song and it’s message of thank you and acknowledgment of Country, should be taken up by all schools.  It provides an important way, through music, that we can better understand our place in this land.

Ron Murray – Wamba Wamba
Enquiries & bookings

Wominjeka: The Thank You Workshop – Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky at Uluru