Excelsia College organised a New Student Harbour Cruise following a two-day orientation at the campus. The cruise featured an array of food, views of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks, opportunities for networking between seniors and new students at Excelsia, and a special guest, Aunty Beryl, a Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) Elder. A culinary expert in Australian Native Foods, Aunty Beryl is the proprietor of restaurants and catering businesses across Sydney, an early advocate for mentoring top chefs in ‘bush tucker’ cuisine, and a passionate educator and businesswoman. She is also the founder of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence Job Ready Program and the EORA Project, contributing to the education and housing for First Nations Elders.  
 
Students and staff were privileged to have Aunty Beryl on board guiding them through an exclusive Aboriginal cultural journey. Through storytelling, she shared the traditional history and custodianship of First Nations peoples, illustrating how ancestral sites served as classrooms, and the reciprocal relationship with the land in hunting, gathering, fishing, and toolmaking for over 60,000 years. Aunty Beryl imparted knowledge on how Indigenous bush foods were used traditionally and later adapted to the modern plate and palate. Aunty Beryl delved into the various tools employed on land for tasks like hunting and gathering, crafting canoes, fishing, creating clothing, and weaving baskets. She also explored their use in caves, where stencil art and sandstone engravings played a crucial role in aiding First Nations peoples to interpret and navigate the site. Aunty Beryl’s sharing attitude stems from her profound dedication to preserving and promoting her First Nations culture, embracing aspects related to the sea, land, food, and community.  
 
The positive feedback from students reflected their appreciation for Aunty Beryl’s inspiring story and the newfound perspectives gained. The unique experience provided students with valuable insights that extended beyond the cruise, enhancing their studies and research. Students’ comments, such as ‘I enjoyed the privilege of this cruise and hearing about the First Nations people and culture’, and ‘It has helped me understand more about our subjects this semester’, underscore the significance of this integrated learning experience.  
 
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Aunty Beryl for her presence at the New Student Harbour Cruise, where she not only presented the Welcome to Country but also shared the rich tapestry of First Nations cultural history.