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Nearly 40-metre snake coils around Oakey State High School

​Oakey State High School captains and the yarning circle snake

​Have you heard the story about the 36-metre snake at Oakey State High School? It's true!

Winding its way through the school's garden, the snake is a student-made yarning circle inspired by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander process of storytelling.

The brainchild of local Indigenous designer, Jason Lawler, the snake is made of more than 12 tonnes of local basalt stones held together by steel mesh and over 18 cubic metres of mortar.

"The construction process of this unique yarning circle took 7 weeks with each stone placed individually, many of them by the school's 600 students and staff," said Mr Lawler.

"The yarning circle has been named Dhakkin Yuwin, meaning spirit of the rainbow snake in Kabi/Waka language in honour of the serpent creator who carried all ancestral creatures to this land."

"The learnscape encourages students to consider the 3 essential pathways of culture, discipline and continuity to social harmony as Aboriginal elders knew them."

Widely adopted around the world by Indigenous cultures, yarning circles are designed to be a safe place to learn as a collective group, build respectful relationships, and preserve and pass on cultural knowledge.

Oakey State High School Principal Daniel Keenan said conversations with Indigenous elders, students and community members took place for more than a year before construction commenced.

"Eighteen percent of our student population is Indigenous, and we wanted to ensure that what we created was a respectful and inclusive representation of both our school and local community values and traditions," said Mr Keenan.

"The snake will become the backdrop of important and honest conversations amongst classmates, friends and colleagues for many years to come."

For more information visit Oakey State High School.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) ( )
Last updated
13 May 2019