Rainbow Serpent of the Hopkins River

"Engaging Koori students and broadening cultural understanding among all students"

The introduction of local Koori history to the curriculum of a Warrnambool secondary school has helped engage Koori students and broaden cultural understanding among all students. The Rainbow Serpent of the Hopkins River pilot program, developed and delivered in partnership with Warrnambool College, has exposed school children to a range of experiences pertaining to local Koori culture and for the first time resulted in local Aboriginal history being taught in a Warrnambool school.

The program was designed to give all students a better understanding and appreciation of local Koori history and the value of the `oral’ history developed by Koori people. It also boosted the capacity of teachers to enhance the learning experience for Aboriginal students and engaged the parents and families of young indigenous students.

Achievement indicators for this project were very positive, particularly in survey responses from both students and teachers. These included:

  • Improved trust between the Aboriginal community and schools

  • Improved perceptions and attitudes from students towards Aboriginal people

  • Better local understanding of local Aboriginal history

  • Positive feedback from students and teachers

  • Improved self-esteem and engagement for Koori students which sets the scene for improved retention

  • Promotion of positive images about the Koori community

  • Greater understanding within the school community about Koori heritage

  • Building teacher and school leadership capacity.

The success of the pilot program has prompted the South West LLEN to approach the state Government’s Wannik Koori education strategy unit with a proposal for funding to broaden the availability of the program to other secondary schools in the region.  

For further information about the Rainbow Serpent of the Hopkins River Project contact the South West LLEN.