Wendy Notley (Aunty Wendy)

Wendy Notley is a non-Aboriginal Early Childhood teacher. The inspiration to create a collection of children's songs with an Aboriginal perspective came from three and a half years of teaching at Murawina Long Gay Care Centre in Eveleigh Street, Redfern.

1990 - 1996

Wendy Notley is a non-Indigenous early childhood trained teacher. She began working at Murawina Multi-Purpose Aboriginal Education Centre in Eveleigh St, Redfern NSW (otherwise known as 'the block') in 1990. Wendy has been one of the longest working non-Indigenous teachers at Murawina.
Inspired by years of teaching Indigenous kids, Wendy wrote a collection of songs in 1995 for the Koori kids in her class at Murawina to sing. The collection of songs honour Indigenous children and celebrate their cultures. Murawina encouraged Wendy to record the songs.
Wendy received written permission to include the names of 11 Indigenous language groups from around Australia, in the song lyrics. She also received permission to include 3 language words from the Bundjalung, language. The lyric content of the songs was reviewed and is supported by Aboriginal Education and Community based groups in NSW.
Growin' Up Strong was recorded in 1996 and was nominated for Best Children`s Album by APRA in 1996 (National Australian song writing award).


Growin` Up Strong Teacher Resource Kit was published by Scholastic (1997-99). Wendy developed the Kit in consultation with 11 Indigenous communities from around Australia, Aboriginal Education and Community based groups in NSW and Pilawuk from the Ngangiwumerri Nation (NT). The Kit supported and extended the songs on Growin' Up Strong.


Wendy developed some dance choreography to accompany the songs on Growin' Up Strong to present in preschools and schools. The presentation involves all children in song, dance and drama experiences that support and extend the messages in the songs. Wendy shares her experience as a non-Indigenous teacher to demonstrate how a non-Indigenous person can embrace and introduce an Indigenous perspective into the classroom. The Aboriginal Programs Unit and Performing Arts Unit (NSW Dept. of Education and Training) have accredited Wendy's performance.
Wendy re-published the Growin' Up Strong Teacher Resource Book (available for purchase)


Wendy wrote a second collection of children's songs in 2002. Some of the songs have a direct Aboriginal perspective and continue to affirm Indigenous children and honour their cultures and the others portray shared experiences that all children can relate to.

2002 - 2003

was spent in pre-production, following the same protocol as with the 1st CD - requesting and receiving written permission to include 21 different Indigenous language names from Indigenous Communities around Australia in some of the songs and a language word from the Bundjalung, Wiradjuri and Pitjantjatjara languages.
The lyric content of the new songs was reviewed and is supported by the Indigenous language groups included in the song lyrics and Aboriginal Education and Community based Groups in NSW.
Rehearsals began with Nardi Simpson (Stiff Gins vocalist/songwriter), David Roberts (bass) and Ashley Donovan (drums) and seven gorgeous Koori kids from Redfern, Waterloo and Marrickville in Sydney.
Happy To Be Me was recorded and produced in 2004 with the money that Wendy saved over the past 5 years from her performances and CD sales. Wendy continues to present the Aunty Wendy's Mob songs and dances in preschools and schools in the Sydney area, regional NSW and the Gold Coast, Queensland.


The happy to be me Teacher Resource Book was developed in collaboration with Aboriginal education consultants and reviewed by the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Support and Advisory Group.
The 132 page Teacher Resource Book includes the illustrated dance actions to ten of the songs on happy to be me, extension ideas and blackline masters to support the songs.


Wendy collaborated with Aboriginal artists from urban and rural NSW, the Central Desert and Cape York Peninsula to illustrate eight of her songs featured on the happy to be me CD. The artist?s interpretation of her song lyrics brings a deeper meaning to the songs messages of acceptance, cultural identity, connection to the land and sense of belonging.
The eight picture books were published in June 2009 and are available to buy from the Aunty Wendy's Mob website.
Aunty Wendy's Mob was invited to open YABUN on 26th January 2009. The band line up was Nardi Simpson (vocals/guitar), David Roberts (bass), Ashley Donovan (guitar) and John Lokeni (drums) plus 22 deadly Koori kids from Darlington Public School and the local Glebe Community singing and dancing up a storm with Wendy on the Main Stage. The performance was filmed by NITV.
Wendy continues to present her songs, dances and stories in preschools and schools and regularly volunteers her time back into the Community.