What is a Mia Mia?
Josh Whiteland building the frame of the Mia Mia.
Words by Margaret River Independent School students, Gemma Cotterill & Lily Ladd-McGovern. Photos by Mark Boskell.
‘Building a Mia Mia at Margaret River Independent School’
By Gemma Cotterill
On Thursday 27th June Josh Whiteland (a local operator of Koomal Dreaming) came to Margaret River Independent School to involve the students in the making and construction of a traditional Mia Mia. The students went out to the school’s reserved bushy area to gather large Peppermint Tree branches. The branches were then weaved through the supporting branches that had been pushed into the ground and then constructed into a hut. Josh’s Wardandi heritage inspires him to visit and educate children about the importance of Aboriginal Culture. “I do it to create cultural awareness. I enjoy building the traditional style hut. Without educating children about aboriginal culture, the skill and importance of it may disappear” Josh said. The younger kids enjoy having the hut in their area and spent the afternoon using it as a shady shelter.
Josh Whiteland checks the frame of the Mia Mia.
What is a Mia Mia?
By Lilly Ladd-McGovern
A Mia Mia is a temporary shelter used by Indigenous Australians. A Mia Mia can be made out of all sorts of material, but these pictures shows one made out of Peppermint Tree branches to ensure flexibility and another strong wood buried deeply into the ground for the base. The method of making a Mia Mia is as follows:
Take a dozen or more strong sticks and tie them together with reeds to make an open base and then take a few flexible branches with leaves still attached to the top of each branch and weave through the base to make a sun proof area. In traditional indigenous culture some kind of water proofing would be placed over the Mia Mia such as kangaroo skin on the inside and then paper bark on the outside.
Josh Whiteland secures the frame of the Mia Mia.
Students Sol Garland, Alister White & Dalton Marsh collect Peppermint Tree branches for the Mia Mia shelter.
Dalton Marsh & Lily Ladd-McGovern work on the shelter.
Students Tanah Howden-Woodland, Nirah Munich-Trezise, Florence Buckland & Bonnie Jones working on the shelter.
Flynn Rosenbach-DuBoulay, Jake McKenzie, Pia Bawden, Bonnie Tattam & Taylor Renney play in the Mia Mia.
Josh Whiteland with Flynn Rosenbach-DuBoulay, Jake McKenzie, Pia Bawden, Bonnie Tattam & Taylor Penney.