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On Thursday 27 May through to Thursday 3 June we celebrated National Reconciliation Week, focusing on the theme of ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’.

During Senior School Mentor, students completed various activities to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements and discuss how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

On Friday 28 May we welcomed Mr Dominic Barry to our Senior School Muster to share his personal journey. It was powerful to hear how a former AFL footballer has navigated through his life influenced by two different cultures. Dominic covered three key elements: sense of belonging, connectedness to others and spirit and soul. These elements have enabled him to regather himself and flourish in life after famously quitting the AFL. Dominic’s speech was engaging and forthcoming and will foster many great conversations among our community. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Psychology at UniSA with the aim to be a clinical psychologist.

On behalf of the Student Reconciliation Committee, Chirath Lekamge unveiled the School’s pledge towards reconciliation. From the photo (below) it is evident how proud the committee, who are pictured alongside Dominic and our Indigenous advisor – Uncle John, was of the pledge. On the painting, the white pattern represents the Indigenous symbol for ‘Meeting Place’ and is surrounded by over 500 fingerprints of students from Years 7 to 12 from all 10 Houses across the Senior School. Holistically, this pledge symbolises the student body meeting together to represent the School’s commitment to Indigenous Reconciliation and to instigate future action towards this great cause.

On Saturday 29 May, we hosted Rostrevor College at our annual 1st XVIII Indigenous Round football fixture. Players wore Indigenous guernseys designed by artist, Sasha Hill, alongside current Indigenous students, Nathan Spry (Year 10) and Leon Connop (Year 10). A Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony was conducted by Uncle John. This annual fixture is now well established, however, this year, we wanted to create more awareness and ‘action’ across all sports. Hence, at the beginning of every sport fixture across all year levels, both teams came together for an Acknowledgement of Country led by our Winter Sport Captains. It was fantastic to witness students as young as Year 7 and 8 stand in front of their peers and opponents to acknowledge their country. Next year we hope to have multiple sports competing in Indigenous designed uniforms.

The Junior School and Early Learning Centre were privileged to welcome Uncle John to celebrate and learn about Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. He shared his experiences on being out in the country, caring for our country, and brought in artifacts for a ‘show ‘n’ tell’ much to the boys’ delight! The boys asked many thoughtful questions and the feedback has been positive with requests for more classroom visits in the future. Finally, the ELC boys and staff were delighted to share in a special Smoking Ceremony with Uncle John.

Thank you to all staff, students, guests of the School and coaches involved in our National Reconciliation Week activities.

Joab Mead
Indigenous Program Coordinator (Acting)