Sitting with her great-granddaughter Annie on a headland between Kiama and Gerringong, Aunty Joyce Donovan explains how the Aboriginal children of today will play an important role in preserving the cultural heritage of the South Coast's Koori community.
Dance and art are two ways the culture of the Wadi Wadi people is being maintained Aunty Joyce says, and now a series of dreaming poles and educational signs on the spectacular Kiama Coastal Walk will help Aboriginal children and the community in general learn more about Aboriginal culture.
"Aboriginal culture is the oldest living culture in the whole wide world ... it is so important that we never forget who the first people of these areas were," she said.
The dreaming poles, created by artists Stephen Russell and Phyllis Stewart, were a project of Kiama Municipal Council, where Aunty Joyce has been employed as an Aboriginal engagement officer for the past two years.
They are located at each end of the Kiama Coastal Walk at Loves Bay and Werri Beach.
Aunty Joyce said the Wadi Wadi people were saltwater people and it was appropriate that the totems were located overlooking the ocean on the headlands, a special and beautiful place.
"The carvings on the poles depict our traditional foods like fish, abalone, pipis, oysters and kangaroo along with berries and medicines ... things that are really relevant to Aboriginal people of the area," she said.
"With the colours, the blue represents the saltwater people, the black represents the Aboriginal people and the white is out of respect for our ancestors and mourning for our ancestors and the traditional people that roamed this area ... the brown represents the earth.
"The South Coast Aboriginal community has a strong history and this is what the poles are about."
Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler said the dreaming poles recognised the area's rich Aboriginal culture, which was overlaid by a truly stunning coastal walk.