Me, You and Woolloomooloo is an inspiring collection of stories about residents of Woolloomooloo written by some of its youngest members: the students in years 4,5 and 6 at Plunkett Street Public School.
The students interviewed locals including author Louis Nowra and veteran developer Sid Londish. With help from staff and volunteers from the Sydney Story Factory, these interviews were shaped into stories published on a website and in a book also called Me, You and Woolloomooloo.
In addition to the stories of residents, the book includes pieces by students about time travelling through 200+ years of Woolloomooloo’s history. Having learned about the history of the area by reading with their buddies from Macquarie Bank – volunteers who visit the school every week – the students imagined themselves into the past and future of their area. They wrote stories that included meeting local identity Tilly Devine and the night-soil collector.
Originally begun as an Aboriginal Engagement project in 2014, Me, You and Woolloomooloo went on to engage all the students in years 4, 5 and 6. Inspired by the Sydney Story Factory's Home Project, this project helped the students develop a better understanding of the area where they live, while also improving their writing and communication skills, their confidence, and their motivation to write and learn.
Said teacher Terese Bareham: “The students have developed a sense of identity, becoming more aware of themselves and their community. It has been wonderful undertaking a project in which every student already knew so much, and which the whole community could contribute to.”
“These kids amaze me every day. They have come such a long way over the course of this project; they are so much more confident and engaged, their writing is much more creative and they are so excited about the project! “
This project was run in terms 3 and 4, 2015. Huge thanks to Sam David Harris, who made this film pro-bono as part of his media studies at UNSW.