Rotary supports Gumbaynggirr learning space at Sawtell Public School

Sawtell Rotary Youth Director Alan Freedman presenting a cheque for $5,000 to Sawtell Public School Principal Michael Hepi at the school’s assembly together with the school captains.

SAWTELL Public School (PS) is moving forward with building an outdoor Gumbaynggirr community cultural learning area in memory of Uncle Mark Flanders.

“The Rotary Club Of Sawtell is proud to be supporting this project and to this end has donated $5,000 towards its construction,” Sawtell Rotarian Alan Freedman told News Of The Area.

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The school is having ongoing consultation with the Flanders family and the Sawtell/Toormina Aboriginal community, as well as the Sawtell Public School’s Aboriginal community, including students.

It is anticipated that the project will become a respectful area whereby families can visit on weekends and in school holidays as part of the NSW Government’s Share Our Space* initiative.

Principal Michael Hepi has told News Of The Area he is very passionate about this project.

“Sawtell PS is extremely grateful for the ongoing support of Sawtell Rotary.

“Their commitment to working in partnership with our school and the school community in further developing a more culturally diverse learning environment is huge.

“Planning is already well underway for our Gumbaynggirr learning area, with the school community very excited to see the finished product,” said Michael.

The cultural learning space will be built on the school’s FLAT (sports ground) and the area will not be fenced with security fencing.

The ground is easily accessible for those with mobility concerns and the project, on completion, will be wheelchair friendly.

The area will feature native plants including bush tucker and medicine plants, a yarning circle, a stage for small performances, murals and dreaming stories.

Commenting on the Rotary funding, Alan Freedman told NOTA, “For the $5,000 we donated to the school we received a grant from the Rotary District for $4,000 to which our club added $1,000.

“Each year all clubs donate to the Rotary Foundation which enables clubs to request a grant for worthy projects.
“Our Board agreed that the Sawtell PS project was worthy hence we applied and received the grant.

“Each Rotary Club looks after various schools in their area; Sawtell Rotary has seven primary schools which we support at various times,” he said.

*Schools that participate in the Share Our Space program open their play space to the public during school holidays to provide opportunities for leisure activities that are appropriate for the available space.


The space where the Gumbaynggirr learning area will be constructed, within the grounds of Sawtell Public School.

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