Regional school shines in national awards

Regional school shines in national awards

14 August 2023

Reward and recognition

A Pilbara public school has been recognised on the national stage for an innovative initiative that combines STEAM and local Aboriginal history and culture.

Marble Bar Primary School was honoured at Friday’s 2023 Australian Education Awards in Sydney.

Principal Shane Wilson accepted the Ideagen CompliSpace Best First Nations Education Program award for the school’s virtual reality program, Marble Bar Virtual Worlds.

Student Leader Kayli-Arah Dhu, Principal Shane Wilson, Emerging Nyamal Elder Julie Whalebone and Student Leader Quawayden Whalebone.

Marble Bar Primary School was also nominated for the Grok Academy Best STEM Program.

The Marble Bar Virtual Worlds provides a digital space to preserve and showcase local First Nations’ culture, art, language and history using VR technology. Working with Nyamal Elders and leaders, the school initiative sparks students’ curiosity and passion and helps them develop a deeper understanding of Aboriginal culture and history. 

Mr Wilson said the school staff were overcome with pride and joy to receive the national award.

“It is surreal and humbling to be recognised as the best First Nations Education Program developed by a school in Australia,” Mr Wilson said.

“The award is a celebration of years of hard work, further to the school community’s other achievements."

The small regional school has just over 20 students but together with the staff, they have been acknowledged with numerous awards for their passion and dedication to sharing local Aboriginal art and culture through virtual reality.

“The Marble Bar Virtual World is transforming the concept of a school network in education, connecting local and global audiences from some of the most geographically isolated places in the world including Marble Bar,” Mr Wilson said.

Ashdale Secondary College and South Thornlie Primary School were also nominated at the Australian Education Awards in whole-school categories, and Joseph Banks Secondary College teacher Matthew Meinema was a finalist for Secondary School Teacher of the Year – Government.