Ngutu Dear Kudlyo

Dear Kudlyo

A performance to preserve a family’s story.

Meeting Aunty Margaret Brodie

During a College visit to Lartelare Park in Yertabulti (Port Adelaide) earlier this school year, we were deeply moved by a child who spoke to Aunty Margaret Brodie, promising to preserve her family’s story. To honour this promise, we created a unique musical production called ‘Dear Kudlyo’ ¹ that allowed us to explore an important story while fostering a sense of custodianship and environmental care among our children. The goal of the performance was not only to entertain, but also establish a deep connection between the story, the performers and the audience.

Dear Kudlyo Performance
Dear Kudlyo Performance

Creating a musical

Throughout the process of creating this musical, our young performers demonstrated dedication and enthusiasm in music, drama and dance, which was truly awe-inspiring. They poured their hearts and souls into the story, shedding tears of anger and outrage as they internalised its powerful message. Their efforts paid off when they took the stage and delivered an outstanding performance. Despite the irony of the bustling traffic, rumbling trains and towering two-story houses, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both the performers and the audience.

Dear Kudlyo performance with trumpets
Dear Kudlyo Performance

Project Work at Ngutu College

‘Dear Kudlyo’ was the result of countless hours of conversations, excursions, explorations and learning within our groups. It was at the core of our Project Work lens for 2022, which drew inspiration from the picture book ‘Dear Earth’ by Isabel Otter. At Ngutu College, Project Work is an interdisciplinary approach that encourages authentic inquiry into questions, problems and provocations. ‘Dear Kudlyo’ serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when children’s voices and concerns drive inspiration.

¹ Kudlyu is the Kaurna word for the black swan. Signage at Lartelare Park reflected an old spelling of the word ‘kudlyo’, but as the Kaurna Language Committee has worked to ensure consistency of spelling, this old version of the spelling has been replaced with ‘kudlyu’. This was acknowledged within the performance, but also became a point of learning for our community. ‘Dear Kudlyo’ was our performance, but if you’re ever looking for a black swan on Kaurna Country then you’ll be looking for a Kudlyu! In the year following the performing of this story, our children selected Kudlyu as the name for one of our class groups as their connection had become so strong.
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