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Trust was important today.

A full day at Barunga Fest. A sport, music and cultural festival with activities scattered across the town.

We needed to know that people would look after each other, do the right thing and make the most of this incredible opportunity.
Respect for Others and Respect for the Environment were vital all day, and our charges didn't let us down.
It was another unforgettable experience.

Programs like Wugubank only succeed when the kids are on board – and this lot are fully subscribed. They've been wonderful Woodleigh ambassadors all week, and today was no different.

They danced at Corroboree, cheered Beswick in the footy and danced to the artists onstage. They got involved and led by example, as they have all week, and we couldn't be more proud.

Barunga Beats!

Last night we started our Bungara Fest experience with a dance party organised by teenagers from Barunga.

The Penbank mob swelled the numbers on the dancefloor, joining in with locals, Wugularr mob, and those who have travelled to be at the festival.

Hot, loud, fast and fun, we can't wait for the culture, sport and music to continue today!

Today was just gorges, really.

Or two sections of one gorge, as a matter of fact.
For today, we toured Nitmuluk, otherwise known as Katherine Gorge, the place of the Cicada dreaming for the Jawoyn people.

There are more Friday photos from tonight's trip to the Bungara Festival, but they'll need to wait until tomorrow.

We're too pooped after the disco.


My Woodleigh experience was so rewarding and I feel it supported shaping who I am today. The teachers were quite remarkable, there was so much diversity throughout the school, and you could always find someone you connected with.

I knew I would never be the dux of the school, and I had no idea what I wanted to do. As a child, I was never one to dress up as a princess or play with Barbies. I was the one nagging my older brother and my dad to come to play outside and kick the footy with me. They used to love doing this until I hit the age where I was kicking the ball further than they were. From that day on, I never seemed to get an invite anymore.

I tried different sports. I found quite a bit of expectation on what sports were ‘acceptable’; netball was for the girls, and footy was for the boys. I think this is a factor in society even today. However, I do believe there have been some big changes to help make any sport ‘acceptable’ for anyone.

Woodleigh is not the sportiest school going around. We were seen as the ‘underdogs,’ but I don’t think we would have it another way. Win, lose or draw, it didn’t matter. If we had enough students for a team, it was a win. Woodleigh and many other schools have helped change how we view gender and sport. There is so much variety on offer, and there is always a girls’ and a boys’ team. I hope all schools can offer the same equal opportunities.

My football pathway became clearer as a friend pushed me to play footy with her at Mount Eliza. Watching the looks on people’s faces when I told them I played footy was funny. I went on to play for the Seaford VFLW club before moving to St Kilda VFLW. There I was lucky enough to be part of history and play in their first-ever women’s team in the AFLW. It was all so overwhelming and exciting, being able to visualise women going further with their footy and possibly being able to make a career out of it.

After the first season, I had a few injuries and couldn’t perform. Unfortunately, I missed out on selection and a contract for the following season. I felt dejected, and my love for footy waivered. I was set on going back to play local footy until, again, I was pushed by one of my friends to come down and train with Casey Demons VFLW. I felt at home straight away and trained in the pre-season until COVID hit in early 2020.

We continued to train away from the club and were excited to return for the next season, though it was an interrupted one. We had a great team, and everyone loved it. My coach moved me from the backline to the midfield; a decision which was pivotal for me. The role suited how I play, and I was pretty dominant. The end-of-year draft came, and I didn’t get picked up. I wasn’t too upset about this as I loved where I was.

Two weeks before the 2022 AFLW season started, I received a call from Richmond’s AFLW list manager asking me to come down to training as they had an opening on their list due to injury. I went down to training on New Year’s Eve: my excitement was high, but I kept my expectations low. Much to my delight, I was signed that night. To say it was a great end to the year was an understatement!

Watching my parents’ faces when telling them I would be wearing yellow and black was one of the best moments. Dad has been a Richmond supporter since he was a kid. I still pinch myself every time I walk through the doors at Punt Road Oval. Having my family and friends turn on the TV to watch me play is crazy.

I think I speak for all AFLW players in saying how proud we are of how far women’s footy has come; although there is still a long way to go, we are heading in the right direction. I feel proud of my role in inspiring the next generation of footballers. It’s no longer a pipe dream that AFLW players may one day be able to be full-time athletes and dedicate 100% of their time to the program.

Around the world, women’s sport is growing. Its attendance, media coverage, sponsorships and pay scales have increased dramatically. It’s almost hard to keep up with the rate it is growing. I hope this motivates the younger generation to become physically active and participate in as many sports as possible. I believe team sport is so rewarding both physically and mentally, and there are so many benefits and life lessons from being part of a team.

My journey from local footy to AFLW was unexpected. I was fortunate to have been provided with opportunities, and I feel very lucky and privileged. I hope my story can inspire others to jump at opportunities as they present and not to give up.


Today was perhaps our biggest day of two-way learning so far. This morning, our girls hunted for sugarbag – native Australian honey – finding the first of the season. While they hunted, the boys learned how to make a reed paintbrush, before using them to create traditional artworks.

Digging a bush oven was a chance to use a bit of muscle, and the kangaroo tails we cooked in it were shared with the Wugularr mob at the end of the school day.
They've been big days, with lots of learning, but these kids are doing themselves and their school, very proud. Nitmiluk tour tomorrow. Everybody in!

The Penbank mob spent our third morning in the classrooms at Wugularr School, working on inquiry projects with the littlies, numeracy projects with junior primary kids, and art projects with the senior primary group.

After a recess filled with piggybacks and play, we headed to the culturally significant 'Top Yard' to cool off in the beautiful rock pools.

Tango, a local elder who has been part of the Wugubank Partnership for many years, then took our group on a bush walk to view sacred cave art at a local initiation site.
It was a huge privilege to round out an incredible day three for us all.

The magic of Wugubank is the age of the children involved.

They play as children play.

Everybody gets involved; there are no bystanders.

Today, after two years removed, we came together with our friends, forging new relationships and connections.
The wait may have been hard, but the faces in

Day 1 done!

You’d be hard pressed to guess that this group of champions kicked Wugubank Week off at 3.15 this morning, but they did.
A full day of travel, heading into the community tomorrow to see our friends, old and new.
Can’t wait.

“Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded.” Jess Lair was on the money with this pearl of wisdom, but as any parent of a prep child would attest, one of the greatest periods of unfolding happens in the first year of school.

Kids learn about friendships, routines, listening, speaking, sharing, taking turns, not to mention planting the seeds of literacy and numeracy that they’ll keep building upon through their entire school journey and beyond. Such a lot to take in! This week students at our Penbank campus took pause in their busy curriculum to celebrate their first 100 days of school by dressing up as 100-year-olds. What do 5yos and 100yos have in common? Well looking at these shrinkled little faces, I’d say joy. And a good serve of chutzpah.