Bunurong stories shared in book by St Augustine’s students

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19 May 2021

St Augustine's School

Students at St Augustine’s School, Frankston South, have worked with the Bunurong people of the Mornington Peninsula to help preserve some of their oral language stories in the form of a children’s book called Kurboroo – The boy who could talk to koalas.

The project has been three years in the making, starting with the establishment of the Bunurong Story Group at the school, and driven by the ideas and enthusiasm of the students to preserve the Indigenous stories.

Kurboroo is the Bunurong word for koala, and the book is based on a historical Bunurong man called Kurboroo and the legends passed down through the generations of his ability to communicate with koalas.

Head of the Bunurong Land Council, Dan Turnbull, said there are also historical accounts from white explorers of the bay area who came across Kurboroo and witnessed his ability to communicate with koalas, including an occasion when one of their party became lost and Kurboroo communicated with the koalas and led the party to the lost man.

Bunurong Elder and Land Council member, Uncle Shane, who worked with the students on the project, thanked and congratulated them on the book.

‘This book helps awaken our Indigenous culture and keep it alive for future generations.

‘Let’s all continue to walk together and learn together’, he said.

Project co-ordinator and former St Augustine’s deputy principal, Derek Bruitzman, said the book was a wonderful achievement by the students and school community.

‘Together, the students and the school are playing a small part in preserving the history of Australia and supporting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

‘We sincerely thank the Bunurong Land Council for trusting us and supporting us with this project’, he said.

A special ceremony to hand over the book to the Bunurong Land Council was held at St Augustine’s on Tuesday 18 May.