Pirru Thangkuray

Pirru Thangkuray

The NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) have developed and is implementing a Cultural Engagement and Goal Setting Program ‘Pirru Thangkuray’. The program is designed to align with the Premiers Priority in increasing the number of Aboriginal students completing their HSC, whilst maintaining their cultural identity. To support schools in achieving this, Aboriginal students studying in Years 8-12 are eligible and invited to participate in the program.

The model has been developed using direct engagement with Aboriginal educators and Aboriginal community to encourage students to fulfil their goals and aspirations. Pirru Thangkuray provides support in sustaining educational outcomes for students through the delivery of Aboriginal perspectives and culturally appropriate content.

What is the purpose of the program?

The program is designed to be engaging, fun and support Aboriginal and other school students build their self-esteem, self-confidence, cultural identity, sense of well-being and realise their academic potential.

What will the program consist of?

The program will be conducted both in and out of school including after school and school holiday activities. Our program has six stages:

  1. Goal setting
  2. Personal development
  3. Academic Goals
  4. Family
  5. Culture
  6. Identity and Belonging

How can I send a student to the program?

Parents, families, schools, Aboriginal Education Officers and other Aboriginal staff can nominate students for the program through an Expression of Interest (EOI) process. We encourage students to nominate themselves by speaking to their family, school, Aboriginal Education Officer (AEO), local AECG or by completing an EOI themselves. Parent/Carer signature is required.

What do I need to do?

Request an EOI form or forward student details and following information: to the details below:

  1. Name, address and contact details for the student including Parent/Carer contact and signature.
  2. Person nominating (other than the student) or supporting the student, their relationship to the student and commitment to supporting the student’s involvement in the program, if appropriate.
  3. A brief explanation of how you think the student will benefit from being involved.
  4. Aboriginality.

For more info please contact the Sonia Makings on 0417 452 312 or via email sonia.makings@aecg.nsw.edu.au



Pirru Thangkuray Updates

October 2023

Case Study – Todd Edmunds

Who I am?
I’m Todd and I’m a proud Wiradjuri man, born and bred in Dubbo where I’ve spent most of my life.
I’ve had a few different roles working with young people in both education and juvenile justice. In my current role as Project Officer with the Pirru Thangkuray program, I work with students in Years 8 to 12, focusing on building cultural engagement and goal setting towards completing the HSC. I work across several schools in the Dubbo area, running the program that has been developed in partnership with the
Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. (AECG).

Recognising barriers
I believe some students disengage because of the environment that they’re in, whether that be at home or at school. If students don’t have the right support and are falling behind with school, they tend to fall off or not turn up completely.
If they’re not interested, they won’t engage at all. Sometimes it can be a fear, not wanting to look silly in front of everyone. That’s why it’s important to make the classroom a safe space, squashing any behaviour that doesn’t foster that positive environment. For others they’ll only put forward what’s easy rather than what they actually think or want to say; so it’s about leaning in with that support to build their confidence.

Culture is where I’ve come from and where I’m going
As a Wiradjuri man culture is very important to me and I believe it’s important for students to understand who they are and where they are going. Being connected to Culture helps give kids identity and if they have that, they have a better idea of where they’re heading. Some kids are already culturally strong and know their mob,but some don’t and are trying to make sense of their place in the world. It’s about building their confidence so they can branch out on their own discovery.
I make sure there’s positivity and learning involved in my sessions. I notice I get much more engagement with the practical ones, rather than written coursework. I know that’s the way I like to learn and within our Culture that’s the way it’s always been, learning through Country and experiences.

In the cultural sessions we’ll do some cooking with native ingredients, really building up those practical life skills to take home. We play Traditional Indigenous Games (TIG), we’ve made our own clapsticks, worked on digeridoos and weavings. These are all great ways to sit down, connect and have a yarn. It’s a safe space and I want them to be able to come to me with any challenges they may be facing.

Where do they want to be in the future
The most rewarding part of my role is seeing the kids achieve. We have a session dedicated to where students want to be in future. We talk about how education plays a role in reaching those material goals they might have. Asking those big picture questions around what they want in life? Do they want to buy a home? Do they want to travel? And how their education can help them reach those things.
Our goal setting programs are fun, and they love to have a go. Students will come up with small goals for themselves, which may include simple things like eating healthier, getting a good night’s sleep, spending less time on their phone or peaking attendance. Building in time for self-reflection and making sure to acknowledge and celebrate those positive changes.

Support plays a big role
Parents and carers do the best they can. If a kid seems down, or not talking as much, try to have an open conversation and see where you can support. I’ve got three young boys and I want them to grow up in a community that’s positive and supportive. The more positive role models we can have face to face with kids in schools has a positive impact, not only on students but also families.
It’s about having an understanding and building better relationships. Remaining open minded and leaving judgement at the door. Without that you can’t truly support those in your classrooms.

Download Flyer – Case Study: Todd Edmunds


November 2020
In 1916 this 104-year-old compass belonging to Aboriginal soldier Private Mick Flick helped him navigate through the fields of the Western Front in France and then pointed the way back home to Collarenebri in North West NSW.

In 2020, this same compass guides his great-great grandson Dominic Flick to realise his cultural goal of carrying this amazing family story into the future. Through his engagement in the Pirru Thangkuray – Dream Strong program, Dom identified wanting to be the keeper of his great-great-grandfathers story for his generation as one of his cultural goals. Listen to his story.


November 2020
As part of our Pirru Thangkuray initiative, students from Peak Hill Central School and Narromine High School made Quandong Key rings….. and they just look deadly!!

Acknowledgement of Country

The NSW AECG Inc. acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners of this nation. We also acknowledge past, present and emerging Elders  and the continuation and celebration of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should also be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have passed away.