Going Bush, by Nadia Wheatley & Ken Searle

Ngurra means country and homeland.
Ngurra means campsite and cave.
Ngurra means nest and burrow.
Ngurra means home.

Nadia Wheatley and Ken Searle were asked to devise a project to build harmony among inner city children of diverse backgrounds. They took 16 children from Muslim, Catholic and public schools on a walk through the local bush. Over a number of weeks, they introduced them to the land and its traditional owners and to each other. Going Bush is a journal of their experience, including artwork, prose and poems from the children, tied together by Nadia Wheatley’s words and Ken Searle’s artwork and photos.

Going Bush brings the classroom to the environment, sharing its many faces with a group of children, many of them seeing it closely for the first time. There are stories of the Eora, traditional owners, and stories of white settlers and what they brought with them. This is living history, walking the path walked by others, stopping and feeling their presence, their knowledge, their legacy. By understanding the past, and the diversity of the land and its people, there is hope that the future can bring harmony. Going Bush contains many narrative forms, and must touch on every possible curriculum area. But its overwhelming message is about the power of the connection between people, and between people and land. Recommended for primary readers.

Going Bush, by Nadia Wheatley and Ken Searle,
Allen & Unwin 2007
ISBN 9781741149111