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As a young child, I loved visiting the South Australian Museum with my parents. My favourite exhibit was the Indigenous Australian gallery on the third floor where the ground was covered in red sand and a 10-minute video played on loop for the entire day. It was titled “Ngurunderi: a Ngarrindjeri Dreaming” and it told the story of the legendary ancestor from the Coorong region who travelled down the River Murray shaping the landscape. To me, it was the greatest cultural experience a boy could enjoy, particularly in a time where international travel was still somewhat of a luxury. However, for a few decades, the luxury of international travel became a lot more common and incredible cultural experiences were only a short, affordable flight away. Now that borders have been slammed shut, those authentic cultural experiences seem like sheer fantasy and perhaps, once again the South Australian Museum is one of the greatest cultural experiences that a young boy can enjoy. That’s what Year 7 History teachers hoped anyway last week, when they made the short walk down North Terrace to visit the Indigenous Australian gallery. The red sand has been swept up, the artefacts have been moved to the ground floor and my favourite video recording has been archived but it is still an incredible experience for all students to learn about the proud history of our First People. Thanks to the Middle Years Humanities Coordinator, Mr Freesmith for organising the excursion.

In the same week that all our Year 7 students delved deeper into Australian history, St Peter’s College hosted the Anglican Schools Student Leadership Workshop with a focus on Reconciliation. Eleven schools attended a conference which featured students from Reconciliation Action Plan groups. The day began with a Smoking Ceremony outside Memorial Hall before students competed a cultural quiz and enjoyed a presentation from John Lochowiak. Students were exposed to a range of current event topics and discussed issues relating to racism and respect, and pondered the path to Reconcilation. The day concluded with a Chapel Service and a presentation from each school where they listed the new initiatives they hoped to introduce based on this unique networking opportunity. Special thanks to our Indigenous Program Coordinator, Ms Cabot and Mr Mead for their support with the day.

As I’ve mentioned to the boys before, it is vital that we include these educational opportunities about Indigenous Australia at St Peter’s College because in a week where we also honoured the rich history of Inter-Collegiate competition, it is worth pointing out that the 150 year contest is but a speck of this great nation’s 80,000 year history.

Mark Coventry
Head of Middle Years