Learning Circle boosts cultural engagement at Cobham

Young Aboriginal people connecting to culture together

Publication date: Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Young offenders at the Cobham Juvenile Justice Centre can now access a purpose built space of healing, learning and support that encourages them to communicate with each other and to engage with Aboriginal culture.

The Aboriginal Learning Circle at Cobham was officially opened on Tuesday, 26 June.  More than 130 people attended the event, and were treated to traditional dance performances involving some of the young people, staff members and Aboriginal mentors, as well as a range of traditional Aboriginal food. Artworks from some of the young people were also on display at the event.

The Learning Circle is a sacred space. It is a place of reflection, where people can sit around, have a yarn and connect to their culture. While it can mean something different to everybody, it is a place where they can learn, talk, and heal together.

The Learning Circle links young offenders with their culture and to the past. They have proven to be very significant places for young people in detention. Being around a circle was how Aboriginal ancestors connected and communicated.

And everyone is welcome to experience the Learning Circle. Indigenous and non-indigenous youth can access the space and learn about Aboriginal culture and history.

Learning Circles are now at all six Juvenile Justice centres across NSW.  They are not just created for the young people, they are also created by the young people. The young offenders have been instrumental in bringing the Learning Circles to life, taking ownership of them from the beginning through to completion in most centres.

The Learning Circle at Cobham was a collaborative effort of the Cobham Juvenile Justice Centre, the Putland School and the Greater Sydney Local Land Service.

The Department of Justice is dedicated to reducing Aboriginal overrepresentation in the justice system. Through Aboriginal mentoring and other endorsed Aboriginal programs, Juvenile Justice aims to reduce the number of young Aboriginal people making their way back to centres. The Learning Circle at each of the Juvenile Justice centres are just one of the many ways in which Juvenile Justice is working to connect young Aboriginal people to their culture.


Traditional dance performances at the official opening of the Cobham Learning CircleAbove: Traditional dances were performed for more than 130 guests at the official opening of the Cobham Learning Circle.


offical unveiling of the plaque at the opening of Cobham Learning CircleAbove:  The official unveiling of the plaque at Cobham. 


Guests experienced traditional Aboriginal culture at the official opening eventAbove:  Guests experienced traditional Aboriginal culture at the official opening event.


Traditional dances at the official opening of Cobham Learning CircleAbove: The Learning Circle is a sacred space to connect with culture and each other.