St Andrew's Cathedral School

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National Reconciliation Week: Learning and working towards change


National Reconciliation Week has been a time of solemn reflection and learning about the injustices endured by our First Nations Peoples, in particular the Stolen Generations. Our students were encouraged to let this learning shape their understanding of Australia’s history and future. On Monday, the Sorry Day Assembly was certainly in that spirit.

This week, we were honoured to have Aunty Lavinia Gibbs lead our Junior School and Gawura students in several workshops focusing on Yalagiyu – which is a word from the Yuwaalaraay/ Gamilaraay languages meaning ‘now’, tying together this year’s Reconciliation Week Theme – “Now More Than Ever”.

During the week, students in Kindergarten and Stage 1 delved into the importance of inclusion and belonging through a Dreaming Story about how koalas came to be. Stage 2 and 3 students explored key points in Australia’s history, such as The 1967 Referendum and The High Court Mabo decision and how each of these significant historical milestones play an important role in the reconciliation journey. The students also learnt about the meaning of racism and some practical, gentle steps they can take in addressing it.

School Council Member and Gawura Co-Founder, Pastor Ray Minniecon spoke about the meaning of this year’s theme…

The theme of Reconciliation Week, ‘Now more than ever,’ is a call to embrace the work of reconciliation that Jesus began through His death and resurrection. Reconciliation is not just a goal or destination but a journey that requires building strong, respectful relationships based on truth-telling.

Pastor ray minniecon

“Through our Gawura school and ministry, this involves listening to Indigenous communities, understanding our perspectives, and working collaboratively to create solutions that honour our knowledge, wisdom and experiences as we work together to find our place within the new Australian future.”

At St Andrew’s Cathedral School, we aspire to create a place of learning where First Nations’ Peoples beliefs, traditions and practices are acknowledged, and their cultural strengths are affirmed and honoured.

We want our First Nations students to be proud of their heritage and hopeful about the future.  

We want all of our students, regardless of cultural heritage, to be equipped with a genuine knowledge about, and respect for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories and a deep commitment to reconciliation and healing. 

We want the example of our Schools to inspire hope and action in others. 

This week, as we reflected on the lessons of our past, we acknowledged that the full engagement of First Nations peoples in the life of this country is essential to Australia and its identity. This comes out of values that St Andrew’s Cathedral School holds dear, such as being Servant-hearted, Courageous and Open-minded, all of which help us to play our part in healing the community.

Now, more than ever, we take the time to appreciate this unique opportunity to work and learn amongst a community of First Nations people directly within our school. Hearing from these community members helps us see a new side to their story and for that we are truly grateful.

Now more than ever, we trust in Gods guidance as we put faith into action. We have heard our community and through extensive consultation, we understand the term ‘reconciliation’ is contentious. We acknowledge this concern and are working towards Restoration as the terminology we will use in this space.