They are YouTube sensations, Queensland Music Awards finalists and an inspirational example of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students showcasing pride in their culture.
Meet the Gowrie Boys.
The students from St Teresa’s Catholic College, Abergowrie, near Ingham, have been making video clips on YouTube since 2011 involving rap, singing, cultural dancing and collaborations with music stars, attracting tens of thousands of hits.
The songs showcase students’ pride in their individual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, along with that of “the brotherhood” at St Teresa’s College, where the words “Arrive as strangers – Leave as brothers” are captured on a sign at the all boys’ boarding school.
This year the Gowrie Boys’ latest song “Won’t let you go” – featuring Marcus Corowa – made the finals in two categories of the Queensland Music Awards.
Their songs often cover the struggle of going to boarding school, but also the brotherhood and bright futures they find as a result.
Next month the college, which has students from 47 communities stretching across Queensland, Papua New Guinea and the Northern Territory, is opening up their extraordinary NAIDOC celebrations to the general public for the first time.
Principal Robert Corboy says their NAIDOC Day celebration, which they will hold on August 5, normally attracts around 1000 students, staff, family and community members – and that’s without the general public being invited.
“It is a full day of dances, concerts, traditional games, traditional foods – all the schools from around the district and different groups come together,” Mr Corboy says.
“The college is really about celebrating the Indigenous cultures … that goes to the heart of what we do. We want our kids to be proud of who they are and where they are from.”
He says NAIDOC Day is really important to students.
“It gives them an opportunity to showcase their culture to the wider community, because we are all about educating the community about the richness of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, so it is a real opportunity to be able to do that,” he says.
“There is a lot of negative press sometimes about Indigenous communities and Indigenous cultures and we want to counterbalance that, because there is such a richness of culture that we can learn from as non-Indigenous people.
“If we can showcase and give other people that experience, our communities will be better.”
You can watch the inspiring Gowrie Boys’ in the videos below: