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Home Books Big Things Grow

Big Things Grow


A memoir of teaching on Country in Wilcannia

By Sarah Donnelley

An inspiring memoir about passion, music and community within a remote outback town, from the winner of the 2020 ARIA Award for Music Teacher of the Year.

This red dirt, it takes a hold of you. The blue skies, the sunsets, the starry nights, the river… Country holds onto you. Then you meet the people. Within one week of living in Wilcannia, I had signed up to stay until the end of the year.

When Sarah Donnelley left Sydney to take up a teaching post in Wilcannia, a small town two hours’ drive east of Broken Hill, she was determined to ignore the rumours of Wilcannia’s reputation for danger and dysfunction. Four fulfilling years later, Sarah is an active member of a rich, complex school community that is transforming the idea of the conventional classroom experience.

Making deep connections with Aboriginal Elders and local families, and taking her students out on Country as often as she can, Sarah has focused her teaching practice on empowering, listening and creating space for respectful conversations.

Big Things Grow is a powerful memoir about community, music and passion, laying bare the beauty and challenges of living in a part of Australia that is often overlooked.

ISBN: 9781761065354
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: 30 Aug 2022
Pages: 296
Format: Large Paperback


About the author:

Sarah Donnelley is a 31-year-old primary school teacher living and working in Wilcannia in regional NSW. She has links to the AECG and is passionate about providing regional students and schools with access to opportunities and quality education.