Scotts Head Public School

Gumbaynggirr cultural and bush tucker track

The Gumbaynggirr cultural and bush tucker track is an initiative designed to build stronger links with local Gumbaynggirr Elders and community members through a greater understanding of local indigenous culture, historical perspectives and knowledge systems within the school and the wider community. The Gumbaynggirr cultural and bush tucker track is a learning resource that promotes bio-diverse values through the ‘accessible’ concept of bush foods and medicinal plants. This is a highly successful teaching engagement strategy which continues to grow every day.

School context



School type Primary
School subtype K - 6
Current student enrolment 113 - 155 students
FOEI range 51 - 100
Aboriginal background enrolment 11 - 20%
EAL/D enrolment 0 - 10%
IEC No
Support class(es) No
School demographic information

The Gumbaynggirr cultural and bush tucker track is an initiative designed to build stronger links with local Gumbaynggirr Elders and community members through a greater understanding of local indigenous culture, historical perspectives and knowledge systems within the school and the wider community. The Gumbaynggirr cultural and bush tucker track is a learning resource that promotes bio-diverse values through the ‘accessible’ concept of bush foods and medicinal plants. This is a highly successful teaching engagement strategy which continues to grow every day.

Initiative purpose

Scotts Head Public School identified the need to build genuine engagement with the Aboriginal families of their school community.

The school sought feedback through face to face meetings with all Aboriginal families to develop initiatives that would facilitate genuine engagement. The feedback indicated that more authentic cultural activities were needed, with the idea for a cultural bush tucker track originating directly from the Aboriginal community.

The Gumbaynggirr cultural and bush tucker track is an initiative designed to build stronger links with local Gumbaynggirr Elders and community members through a greater understanding of local indigenous culture, historical perspectives and knowledge systems within the school and the wider community. The Gumbaynggirr cultural and bush tucker track is a learning resource that promotes bio-diverse values through the ‘accessible’ concept of bush foods and medicinal plants. This is a highly successful teaching engagement strategy which continues to grow every day.

Implementation timeframe and activities

The school collaborated with local Gumbaynggirr Elders including the Muurrbay Aboriginal language and cultural cooperative. In addition, through the support of community groups including TAFE, the local high school and national parks, the school was able to facilitate the development of the cultural and bush tucker track.

The school also engaged an Aboriginal school learning support officer (SLSO) two days per week to provide Gumbaynggirr language lessons and to support classroom teachers with the 8 ways of learning framework. An additional Aboriginal SLSO was engaged one day per week to focus on health, physical activity and wellbeing.

The track grew into an integrated curriculum resource and a cultural experience for the students. A number of students from other schools have now visited the track with students from the school acting as tour guides, leading small groups around the track, offering wisdom on plant, dreaming stories and culture.

The school has sourced signage for the track to provide information for the bush foods and medicinal plants. The signage includes QR codes which provide an audio information report for the respective plants which have been researched, scripted and read by the students of Scotts Head Public School.

Instructional leadership was used to implement ‘Talk for Writing’, an evidence-based writing pedagogy, initially for students from EAL/D backgrounds. The pedagogy provides students of all language backgrounds with a systematic modelled, guided and independent approach to writing based on pre-assessment of student needs.

Resources and funding sources

The initiative was funded from the following sources:

  • $44,200 from socio-economic background equity loading
  • $28,200 from Aboriginal background equity loading
  • $10,000 Federal government grant.

Total cost $82,400

Funding sources used
Socio-economic background
Aboriginal background
Federal government grant

The Gumbaynggirr cultural and bush tucker track is an initiative designed to build stronger links with local Gumbaynggirr Elders and community members through a greater understanding of local indigenous culture, historical perspectives and knowledge systems within the school and the wider community. The Gumbaynggirr cultural and bush tucker track is a learning resource that promotes bio-diverse values through the ‘accessible’ concept of bush foods and medicinal plants. This is a highly successful teaching engagement strategy which continues to grow every day.

Evidence of impact


Students have a greater understanding and confidence in Aboriginal culture, including language, law, identity and relationships. This has strengthened the relationships between Aboriginal families and supported reconciliation.

The initiative has also supported wellbeing programs and engaged previously disengaged students.

The Gumbaynggirr cultural and bush tucker track is an initiative designed to build stronger links with local Gumbaynggirr Elders and community members through a greater understanding of local indigenous culture, historical perspectives and knowledge systems within the school and the wider community. The Gumbaynggirr cultural and bush tucker track is a learning resource that promotes bio-diverse values through the ‘accessible’ concept of bush foods and medicinal plants. This is a highly successful teaching engagement strategy which continues to grow every day.

Next steps

Southern Cross University is piloting a similar initiative with Macksville High School and local Gumbaynggirr Elders with the aim of developing a buddy system with other local primary schools to support transition at key points.

This initiative will also provide an additional resource for sustainability and climate change studies.

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