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Byron Shire
May 18, 2021

Local kids to learn how to ‘throw a Kolap’ and ‘roll a Koolchee’

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Traditional indigenous schoolyard games are getting a new lease of life in the Northern Rivers, thanks to a new education program for early childhood and primary school teachers.

Teachers learn traditional indigenous games at a recent workshop. Image: Northern NSW Local Health District

Local primary children can now learn how to throw a Kolap, roll a Koolchee and keep a Kai in the air, as well as many other Yulunga traditional indigenous games from years gone by.

“Yulunga means ‘playing’ in the language of the Kamilaroi people of North-western NSW,” The Northern NSW Local Health District’s Health Promotion Manager, Jillian Adams said.

The Indigenous games have been collected from around Australia and the Torres Strait Islands, with permission from traditional owners, and the program resources have been developed by the Australian Sports Commission.

‘Local Bundjalung Elders took part in the launch of our training sessions, and shared insights into how games have been played in this region,’ Ms Adams said.

Along with ball games, the activities include boomerang throwing, jumping, running, climbing, hitting, throwing, and water games.

‘The traditional Indigenous games have been adapted to be played with modern equipment – for example, using tennis balls and foam noodles instead of woomeras and spears.

‘Close to 400 teachers have attended the Yulunga Traditional Indigenous Games workshops in the Northern Rivers and they have proved so popular that extra sessions have been added this term to meet the demand.

The program is being delivered in collaboration with the NSW Office of Sport.

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