Meet the Staff – Tanya McEwen, Wiradjuri Language Teacher

10 February, 2021

This month I would like you to meet our newest staff member, Tanya McEwen, who is our new Wiradjuri language teacher.

Which Nation are you from?

I’m a proud Gomeroi, Wailwan woman from Gulargambone. I’m also on the Deerubbin Land Council.

What’s your role at Gawura?

I will teach Wiradjuri language in Gawura and in the St Andrew’s Cathedral Junior School.

What attracted you to this job?

The opportunity to teach an Indigenous language. My passion is in revitalising our languages. Not all schools offer language the way they do here. I’d love to teach Gamilaroi language but it’s not taught anywhere.

What are you looking forward to most?

Sharing language with all of the Junior School classes, not just teaching the Gawura kids.

Where were you working before Gawura?

I taught science and English at Walgett Community College, which is a high school.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

It’s all new and different.  Walgett is very different to Sydney, now I have to catch the train rather than walk 5 minutes.  I’m working a building with lifts!!  I’m adapting to a new way of doing everything.

What were you like at school?

I went to school in Gulargambone.  I was captain of the netball and basketball teams. I had lot of friends and good mates.  My Dad was very strict – if we wanted to miss a day of school we had to see a doctor!

Who was your hero growing up?

My Mother.  I lost her early.  She grew up with hardship and then raised 6 kids.  She instilled resilience in us and courage.  She always said ‘hold your head up.’ My Dad was a Gun Shearer (meaning he was very good). My sister became a nurse and now I have two nephews who are doctors.  One is a surgeon at John Hunter Hospital.

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