Menindee Central School


Schools in Partnership Program

The ‘Schools in Partnership’ (SiP) program provides additional funds and support to schools with significant Aboriginal student populations. The program seeks to help schools to strengthen partnerships with the community. It involves meeting with parents and giving them the opportunities to take a leading role in the school and in the education of their children. Each student has a personalised learning program as a part of the initiative. The school culture at Menindee Central School promotes respect for and understanding of Aboriginal culture. The ultimate aim of the program is to maximise educational outcomes for Aboriginal students. The SiP committee has input from the AECG, P&C, teachers, parents and the community.

Brief History of Menindee

Menindee is a small town in the far west of New South Wales in Central Darling Shire, on the banks of the Darling River, with a sign-posted population of 980. It is the oldest European settlement in western New South Wales, and the first town to be established on the Darling River. A weir on the Darling River near Menindee diverts water from the river into a series of shallow, otherwise dry, overflow lakes. These lakes, the Menindee Water Storage Scheme, regulate the river flow for irrigation downstream into South Australia.
The first European to visit the area was the surveyor and explorer Major Thomas Mitchell in 1835. He was followed by Charles Sturt in 1844 and the town was the advance base for the Burke and Wills expedition in 1860. Menindee is located where the transcontinental railway line crosses the Darling River. The town is situated on the western edge of town is the Kinchega National Park.
The Burke and Wills expedition camped at Menindee on their journey to cross Australia from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria. They arrived here on 14 October 1860, crossed the Darling River at Kinchega Station and made Camp XXXIV (their thirty-fourth camp since leaving Melbourne). There was dissent within the party and George Landells, the deputy-leader resigned. Robert O'Hara Burke split the party, heading north to Coopers Creek with half the men, stores and animals. The remaining men, stores and animals made a depot camp at Pamamaroo Creek and a sign and cairn mark the site of the camp. This camp was used for the reaminder of 1860 and for most of 1861. While in Menindee, Burke stayed at the Maiden's Hotel.

Aboriginal Background

Most of the Aboriginal people in Menindee trace their ancestry to the Nyampa and Barkinji peoples. Some of their ancestors have lived on the land for thousands of years. The Darling River and the lake systems have always been an important link between Aboriginal communities to the north and south of the township. As with other indigenous communities, land and water are at the core of cultural identity and spirituality. Major Mitchell was the first non-Aboriginal person to visit the land upon which the current township is located. This first contact was a violent encounter and resulted in traditional hunting grounds being lost to pastoralists. However, the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who now live in Menindee have reached a respectful co-existence, with both peoples sharing a common experience.