Bringing the Land Down Under to the Wild West


Paul Taylor is an Ambassador from Adelaide, Australia. Taylor first came to the United States by invitation of Bobby Bridger who, after meeting Taylor on a trip in Australia, requested that Taylor come back to the states with him to act as a “mountain man” in his company version of “Ballad of the West” performed at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody Wy. From there Taylor became involved with the Discover Program and began to visit schools throughout the state. For the past 20 years, he has invested his time teaching kids all about the culture of Australia. Taylor has been adopted into the Yubulyawan clan of the Wardaman people, an Aboriginal Tribe, and studies under the clan Elder Yidumduma Bill Harney. Taylor explained that Harney grew up in the bush and learned through ceremonial singing, dancing and theatre. Taylor styles his teaching to mimic his studies in the tribe. In his own words, “It’s a total arts immersion.”

Last week Taylor spent the full week in Manor Heights Elementary. He taught the children about animals, songs, dances, art and culture of Australia. The students took what Taylor taught them through the week and on Friday held an Aussie Festival to show parents and other guests what they had learned. Each grade had a song, dance, or art project they focused on for the festival. Some performed skits directed by Taylor to demonstrate what they had learned about Australian culture. Some made paper boomerangs and others made didgeridoos, an Australian instrument. Some performed dances or songs for their families.


The students were ecstatic about what they had learned. First-grader Landon loved learning about Australian animals, “When you get bit by a brown snake you shout COOEE!” Fifth-grader Kaden said, “I learned new things about Australia: I learned how to play the didgeridoo, I learned about the aboriginal culture. My favorite thing was listening to all the stories Paul told.” Kaden’s classmate Annabelle said, “I’ve learned so much that it’s kinda hard to say. I learned new animals and how to play a didgeridoo. My favorite part was painting the didgeridoo.” She went on to explain that Taylor instructed the students to paint their stories on their didgeridoos so she painted her connection to her best friend and family.

The Aussie Festival was a hit amongst students and parents alike and Principal Kent Thompson made Taylor an honorary Manor Heights Jaguar!


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