12 July 2023

Photo challenge helps students focus on a magical connection with Country

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
Start the conversation
Malia Wilesmith self-portrait

Malia Wilesmith from Ganmain Public School was crowned the photographic competition’s junior winner for her self-portrait. Photo: Supplied.

Children from across the Riverina have celebrated the enchanting beauty of Wiradjuri Country through photographs.

Riverina Local Land Services announced the winners of its The Magic of Wiradjuri Country photography competition during NAIDOC Week at Wagga Wagga City Library. Wiradjuri elder and 2023 Magic of Wiradjuri ambassador, Aunty Isabelle Reid, performed a Welcome to Country.

The competition was one of the key activities identified in Riverina Local Land Services’ Aboriginal Engagement Strategy and aimed to encourage primary and secondary students to reflect on and capture the beauty of Wiradjuri Country through amateur photography.

READ ALSO ‘It’s just a commonsense move’: Marshalls Creek widening given priority over Gobba intersections and duplication

Riverina Local Land Services received 81 entries from 23 schools.

Malia Wilesmith from Ganmain Public School was crowned the junior winner for her self-portrait, while Ronald Jarvis from Young High was named the senior winner for his shot of a sacred ring tree.

The judges were Wagga Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Lorraine Lyons and local board chair Barney Hyams.

Riverina Local Land Services general manager Ray Willis said the number of entries was a fantastic result and showed the connection the students had with the land.

sacred ring tree

Ronald Jarvis from Young High School was crowned the senior winner for his photo of a sacred ring tree. Photo: Supplied.

“I would like to thank the schools for assisting in coordinating this competition, and a very special thank you to each of the students who took the time to take these amazing photos and share them with us. You should all be very proud of your work,” he said.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Lorraine for her assistance in judging the awards. We appreciate the support of the Wagga Local Aboriginal Land Council.”

Independent Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr also congratulated the entrants and the winners.

Dr McGirr said with the ongoing community debate surrounding the Voice to Parliament, events such as the photo competition restored his faith in reconciliation during NAIDOC Week.

“Sadly, that debate cannot be on the best of terms at all times and a competition like this restores my faith,” he said.

“With our Aboriginal culture, we have a great gift this nation has not recognised for many, many years.

“This competition and these pictures, where we’ve got representations that draw on tradition and culture, show the strength we have in that gift, and we can celebrate that. I hope we don’t lose the gift.”

READ ALSO RAAF to celebrate 65 years of the venerable ‘Herc’… with many more to come!

Photography Winners:

Connor Simpson, Griffith North Public School – Junior Runner-Up
Kiana Sant, Young High – Senior Highly Commended
Jemima Nugent, Wagga Wagga Christian College – Senior Runner-Up
Corey Pye, Mt Austin High – Best Cultural Photo
Charlotte Foster, Wagga Wagga Public – Best Landscape
Skye Burnes, Brungle Public – Junior Highly Commended

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Riverina news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riverina stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.