Year 5/6 Round Square Students Attend Dirrum

Last Saturday, 22 of our Year 5/6 Round Square students attended Dirrum Dirrum Festival – Radford’s very own student-led conference. This year marked ten years since Dirrum Dirrum’s inception. The 2023 theme was simple, Sonder: the realisation that each passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

Students listened intently to Aunty Dr Matilda House-Williams, who welcomed everyone to country and shared several personal experiences. Aunty Matilda walked through the room, speaking to those in attendance.

Brenda Matthews was Dirrum Dirrum's first speaker. She spoke passionately about her life and how she was removed from her parent’s care and went to live with a white family as a child. Several students had already watched Brenda’s movie The Last Daughter and were excited to hear Brenda share her memories with them.

"When Brenda Matthews was two years old, she and her siblings were taken from their parents. For the next five years, she was a much-loved daughter in a white family, a happy child in a country town on the outskirts of Sydney, unaware of the existence of her Aboriginal family or how hard her parents were fighting for her return - unaware of her Aboriginal identity. Then, she was suddenly returned to her Aboriginal family, the last daughter to come home" - Brenda Matthews – The Last Daughter.

Students listening to Brenda Matthews.

Students also listened to Nathan Parker speak about overcoming extraordinary challenges when he had to have his arm amputated after a bus accident on the way to work.

"Do I give up, or do I try and try again?" Nathan asked himself and the audience.

Nathan's words resonated with students.

Nathan spoke about the definition of resilience. He said that "resilience consists of small choices made by you." His resilience and sheer determination were felt throughout the room.

Students heard author Trent Dalton share stories about his upbringing and how his homelife had been difficult. His parents dealt drugs and were in jail at times. His greatest mentor ended up being convicted of murder. And somehow, even with all of this in his upbringing, he has gone onto become an author who is exceptional at writing love stories. Sitting back and listening to Trent speak about his latest book Love Stories, and the different ways love can be shown, was truly inspirational.

Student reflections created at Dirrum Dirrum Festival.
Student reflections created at Dirrum Dirrum Festival.

During the dinner break, festival attendees visited the room full of stallholders who had come to share their products and stories. Secondhand items were purchased at the Swap Shop, an array of products from Timor were available at Hau Nia Timor, and delicious treats were bought from the Stepping Stone stall.

This year’s Dirrum Dirrum Festival was a thoroughly enjoyable event filled with speakers who shared personal stories that affect us all. Our Year 5/6 Round Square students learnt a lot – from the speakers themselves and from their Year 11 and 12 role models.

To view a full gallery of photos from Dirrum Dirrum Festival, click here.