Hello GO Family!

I hope that you are well and making the most of this cooler weather. It’s an opportunity to rug up, grab a cuppa and hang with our mob for a yarn around a fire (or under a blanket).

Twitter Mentoring Day is coming up on Thursday August 13. It’s going to be our first virtual get together, and you’ll be joining in from school. Twitter’s even working out a way to get some famous Twitter cookies and snacks out to you all. More details of what’s in store to come soon.

A big shout out to our Technology Scholars, who’ve joined us over the past few weeks. Welcome to the GO Family, and we hope you enjoy your first GO-Q! As a little incentive we’re offering a prize to creative Tech Scholars who email me at mark@gofoundation.org.au with a photo of them using their tech for their learning! We will put a collage together for the next GO-Q.

This week’s GO-Q is jam packed with great stuff. There’s a video from Indigenous astrophysicist Kirsten Banks talking about Aboriginal stars, deadly podcasts to listen to and a letter to you all from Shay McMahan, who works at our Ecosystem partner GHD, about her life and journey from CareerTracker intern to become one of the few Indigenous urban planners in Australia.

Speaking of winter warmers, all of us at GO have had a crack at Alex’s world-famous scone recipe. It is not too late to get baking and send a photo in for next week’s prize!

Have a great week guys, looking forward to pictures of scones and tech scholarships in use!


Winners are Grinners

Congratulations to Kaleah Mae who nailed the GO-Q bake-off with her magnificent lemonade scones!  Kaleah Mae is Ashlie’s daughter, and so we have it on good authority her scones were also scrumptious. Mark created scone spiders introducing choc-chips to the mix (yum!). Shirley’s been baking too and added a pinch of salt and a little more flour to produce these little beauties. If you’re still keen to give them a go, you can find the recipe in our last GO-Q here.

GO-Q Culture – Star Power

The First Nations people of Australia were the first astronomers in the world, and the night sky is full of Indigenous knowledge and ancient stories. With its star maps and songlines, the sky is a canvas of scientific and legal knowledge and stories passed through generations for tens of thousands of years. Over the past couple of years, there has been a move for stars to be officially known by the ancient names given to them by different cultures around the world. There are now six stars officially recognised by their traditional Aboriginal names.  They are: Larawag, Wurren, Ginan, Urnurgunite and two very new additions, Gudja and Guniibuu.

Astrophysicist Kirsten Banks filmed this video for GO Scholars talking about these special Indigenous stars and the stories they hold.  A proud Wiradjuri woman, Kirsten tutors and teaches physics, and is completing her PhD in galactic archaeology, which she describes as ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ in the sky!

Space Walk

Talking about space, the International Space Station has new residents. The Expedition 63 Crew from NASA are onboard researching and out and about walking in zero gravity.  You can have a front row seat in space by watching the upgraded livestream here as well as NASA TV. The pictures are transfixing! There’s Earth from space (filmed by the astronauts), a space station tracker and a live chat to join if you like.

Planning the Future

Quarantine sadly curbed our mentoring day at GHD earlier this year, and with it a chance to talk to Shay McMahon, who’s one of the few Indigenous urban planners in Australia.  So, Shay has written you all a letter about her career path, her work at GHD where she is part of the graduate program, and why she loves what she does.

A letter from Shay McMahon at GHD

Hi everyone,

As an Eora woman, and one of very few Indigenous urban planners in Australia, I am proud of my career so far. In my current role, I get to draw on my skills from university, and my heritage to ensure Australia’s Indigenous history, culture and ownership is considered in the design and planning of our country.

What is planning and what do planners even do? I think this video from the Planning Institute of Australia sums it up nicely.

I work at GHD and am part of their two-year graduate program in Melbourne. My time is split between working with their Urban Design team and the Indigenous Services team.

I grew up in Port Stephens, New South Wales and studied an undergraduate degree in Architecture at the University of Newcastle and then said goodbye to my family and moved to Melbourne to complete my Masters in Urban Planning and Design. Part of the reason I decided to study at university was because my father always said to me ‘I want you to have what I was denied,’ and this is something that sits with me in everything I do in life. I was also driven by the lack of Indigenous leaders in the industry.

During the final year of my Masters, I did an internship through CareerTrackers with a previous employer and then went on to graduate and join GHD’s Graduate Development Program.

While working in the Indigenous Services team at GHD my tasks vary daily, which is what makes my role so exciting. I provide support to the many different teams across GHD to help build their engagement with Indigenous people and Indigenous businesses. I’ve also been working closely on GHD’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) implementation. GHD’s Indigenous Services Team is supported by a growing internal Indigenous network of more than 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees located across Australia, and it’s really nice to be part of this support group in such a large global company. With the other half of my time, I work with the Urban Design team assisting with culturally inclusive approaches to design. I also have the chance to work on some exciting building projects in Victoria.

I want to encourage other Indigenous people to consider a career in the built environment. There is a real need for Indigenous people to have a deeper input into this space, and ensure our history and culture is considered. If you think you might be interested in a career in planning, the Planning Institute webpage tells you which universities to look at.

For me, the possibilities and real impact I can make, are what makes my role so exciting. I look forward to growing into a leadership role at GHD and continuing to present a strong Indigenous voice as we shape urban Australia. And I encourage you all to do the same in whatever you do.

All the best with your studies,

Shay McMahon

Deadly Podcasts

With the school commute back, here are a couple of podcasts to take the drag out of your travel time.

Debutante PodcastDebutante is a new podcast from actor Miranda Tapsell and writer and actor Nakkiah Lui.  The friends travelled the world for the series that explores race, resistance and girl power through the prism of the debutante ball.  The first large-scale Aboriginal debutante ball was held at Sydney Town Hall in 1968, and today there are Indigenous-run balls all over Australia.  You can listen to Debutante here. It’s free on audible until 16 July 2020.

The REAL PodcastThe Real podcast series, hosted by Wiradjuri woman Mayrah Sonter, is an inspiring collection of First Peoples voices, sharing their experiences, dreams, hopes and beliefs. There are 16 stories to listen to, including episodes with GO Ambassadors Brooke Boney and Dan Sultan. Another episode to tune into features Isaiah Dawe. Isaiah founded ID Know Yourself, an Aboriginal mentoring organisation supporting youth living in out of home care.  Isaiah, a Butchulla and Gawara man, talks about his challenges growing up in the foster care system and his journey towards reconnecting with his family.

Helpful Covid-19 Contacts

  • You can find all the latest COVID-19 details for NSW schools, universities, and childcare here, and details about SA schools here.
  • Kids Helpline has a special COVID-19 information page, which is a great resource, and there’s someone to talk to 24/7 online or by phoning 1800 551800
  • Visit health.gov.au for the latest health advice or call the 24-hour National COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 020 080.
  • Visit the Department of Social Services for the latest information about COVID-19 assistance and support services.
  • Ask Izzy is a free and anonymous website where you can search over 360,000 services to find food, housing, counselling, legal advice, and a whole lot more. Ask Izzy’s Facebook page is also full of useful info.

Get your entries to Mark for the drawing competition, and stay safe and well GO Family!