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There is something incredibly powerful about the whole school gathering on the first day of the academic year, standing in silence as the smoke from Uncle John’s coolamon washes over them. Some students raised their hands to make contact with the smoke gently blowing their way, others noticed the distinct eucalyptus scent and the sound of the clapping sticks beating in time with their heart.

Reflecting on the impacts of the recent bushfires on our community and country, Uncle John’s message this year touched on the power of fire highlighting its important role in the management of the environment and its symbolic use in ceremony. In Aboriginal culture, smoking ceremonies are held to signal new beginnings, to heal and cleanse.

For St Peter’s College, commencing the year with a Smoking Ceremony signals the School’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation. In 2020, the Indigenous Education Program continues to implement the St Peter’s College Reconciliation Action Plan, grow a strong scholarship program for Indigenous students and build understanding about Indigenous culture in our community.

Stephanie Cabot
Teacher Early Years, Indigenous Education Program Coordinator