Storytelling has always been a crucial part of people’s lives and it has formed the basis of the continuation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for over 60,000 years on the continent now known as Australia.

NASCA uses storytelling with the young people we work with and engaging people from outside of our organisation exposes our students to different ways of telling their own story.  

NASCA is proud to be in the fourth year of partnering with the Sydney Story Factory and a recent exercise facilitated by them has created some amazing stories from some creative minds in our South Sydney Academies program.  

Over the past three months NASCA’s inner Sydney students from Marrickville High, Tempe High and Alexandria Park Community School have been working with Gamilaroi Man John Blair who has used the art of storytelling ‘Koori Style’ as a tool to encourage future thought, creative writing and confidence in talking publicly.


‘Introduce Yourself – Koori Style’ is a template for Aboriginal kids living in an urban environment to “pay respect to your family, ancestors and the land you are on and discover things about yourself”. The exercise encourages young people to seek more answers about their Indigenous heritage, how that relates to the land their ancestors are custodians of and how this still holds relevance today in terms of forming identity as people become young adults.

John said of the exercise “You are also showing respect to the people and the Land you are visiting if they aren’t originally from Sydney.” John originally from Tingha has been and Aboriginal Cultural educator for years and says in his experience “Having kids think about where they identify from as an Aboriginal person is really important.  If they don’t know they are encouraged to find out more through their family.  This exercise is similar in some ways to when we do introductions before Ceremony.”

The exercise comes in many forms and works with how comfortable the young people are with writing while always encouraging them to be as creative as possible.

NASCA’s Inner Sydney Program Manager Blake Borgia looks forward to this partnership continuing. Blake said “Out of the exercise the students confidently discussed their ambitions, culture, passions and life journey”.  We are hopeful in the near future this exercise using Sydney Story Factory’s help could be expanded to other Academies programs with Western Sydney and Western NSW NASCA students.


Some stories were personal, while others were fictional stories. Here is a great example of some great work by Shonnalea who is at Marrickville High.

From Moree to Sydney

My goal is to make my family happy and show people back in my home-town that that there’s more than just walking around, doing the same thing.

“My name is Shonnalea. I am from a small country town called Moree, I also have family in Walgett.  I am one of seven kids in my family; I have five brothers and one sister.  I am the second oldest in the family.  I recently moved to Sydney, like four months ago and I find it heaps different.  I live with my Aunty and two cousins.  The reason I moved to Sydney is because I was having a rough time and just needed a new start.  I’d come to Sydney a couple of times before I moved here and I found it good.  What I like about Sydney is there’s more opportunities and there’s more different things to do everyday than just walking around doing the same thing.

What I’m hoping will happen while I’m in Sydney is finishing school, getting my licence and finding a full-time job.  I hope that one day I’ll get the opportunity to go over the other side of the world and help those kids that are struggling with everything.

I think you could play a good role model to my little sister, brothers and cousins by showing them you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.


Things I most enjoy are doing sports, being around my family and learning new things everyday.  One of the things I love to do is play oz-tag, I learnt to play three years ago with the Mooree Boomerangs.  I enjoyed playing every weekend with a bunch of caring people, it was a good experience.  Last year I played with the Moree Bears with some of my cousins that turned out to be sisters. Going to training everyday was good because we were having fun.

My coach was my cousin who I take as Aunty and she has taught me everything I know right now.  It was a bunch of beautiful people that would always encourage you to do things.  We won the grand final because we played as a team every weekend. I loved everyone, especially playing alongside my friends and sisters and I’m keen to do it again sometime.  This year I’m playing for a different team – the Narwon Eels. It was good meeting new people and teaching them new things they didn’t know”.

Donate today and change a future

Help young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders stay strong in their culture and identity.