Remote kids Sydney-bound for literacy day

Students from three remote schools are in Sydney to launch their new book, The Goanna Was Hungry, as part of Indigenous Literacy Day.

The book, a compilation of stories, was written and illustrated by budding young authors and artists from the Tjuntjuntjara, Mt Margaret and Menzies schools in WA’s Goldfields.

Authors Sally Morgan and Anne James helped.

Some of the students will read their work at a big event at the Sydney Opera House today as part of Indigenous Literacy Day.

They made the long trip from their homes by car and plane with Tjuntjuntara principal Charlie Klein and some of the parents.

Mr Klein said his school held a yearly writers’ festival with its distant neighbours, Mt Margaret and Menzies.

“This trip to Sydney is the public viewing of their work,” he said.

The Goanna Was Hungry is the second book by Tjuntjuntara pupils who live in the Great Victoria Desert, about 550kms east of Kalgoorlie.

Their first, How Does Your Garden Grow, was published in 2013.

Rianna Hogan, 13, said stories help you see things, while Naomi Felton, 13, said she particularly liked the illustrations in the new book.

The children’s book readings will be a feature of Literacy Day events at the Opera House.

Also on hand will be Opera singer Deborah Cheetham, actor Justine Clarke, singer-songwriter Josh Pyke, children’s book authors Andy Griffiths and Alison Lester and novelist Richard Flanagan.

Pyke and children from Gawura College will perform their new song Words Make the World Go Around.

A Great Book Swap will also see hundreds of school children swap books for a gold coin donation to raise money for the ILF.

ILF executive director Karen Williams said the day was their main fundraising event.

“People love to share their favourite books and organising a book swap is a way to help us continue to increase literacy levels in remote Indigenous communities across Australia,” she said.

The ILF is a not-for-profit charity that provides books to more than 250 remote communities and organisations.

Schools and businesses can register for the Great Book Swap at or make a donation at

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