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National Reconciliation Week

Dear Haileybury Rendall Community

As we reflect on the wonderful events that unfolded during this year's National Reconciliation Week, the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Committee are encouraged by the spirit, determination, and unity that permeated every aspect of our school community.

Throughout the week, our students showcased a profound commitment to reconciliation, engaging in a diverse array of activities that highlighted the importance of understanding and honouring our shared history. From thoughtful initiatives such as friendship bracelet making and shared reading sessions, to fun Yulunga games and curriculum enhancements, their enthusiasm was pleasing to note.

One of the highlights was undoubtedly the Bush Tucker Dinner, which brought together our ELC and Boarding students at the Boarding precinct. This event served not only as a celebration of culture and heritage but also as a catalyst for forging lasting connections among our student body.

Additionally, the educational experiences provided by Dingo Cockatoo and the Cultural Awareness Workshop with Mamanta enriched our students' understanding of Indigenous culture and history, fostering empathy and respect.

The pinnacle of our celebrations was the sensational school-wide concert on Monday, 3 June, where we paid tribute to the legacy of Eddie Mabo. With performances by talented artists such as Jaxon De Santis, Torres Strait Islander dancers, and the esteemed Shellie Morris, the concert was a testament to the power of music and community in promoting reconciliation.

RAP Committee

The Muda of the Wangkumara

The Muda is the creator of the Wangkumara people, the land they live on and the things they own on their country.

Muda created the gold, opal, Coopers Creek, food, and fire on the lands of the Wangkumara tribe. The land was created by the Pelican. In the Wangkumara Dreamtime story told by my Great Grandmother, Lora Dixon, The Muda of the Wangkumara people is a story about a pelican who had special powers, was very clever, had evil spirts, and could change from a man into a pelican and float on water.

The Muda is the ancestor of the Wangkumara tribe, the pelican, they are the creators and their actions created beautiful things for the people of the tribe. Gold, opal, fire, hills and mountains and Coopers creek was filled with food/fish for the people to eat. The pelican's blood created the gold on the land, his resting and landing on trees made trees change to hills and mountains. The creek was created by the water in his mouth, and the fish in his pouch filled the creek with small fish for the people to eat.

The Muda is the hero in this Dreamtime story, they are the creator and the most important. They do great things for the Wangkumara people. But there was one who was very different and made the people in the tribe worry about the way he could change from man to pelican. The tribe's people were worried he had an evil spirit inside of him. The Muda became powerful with magic from old bones he used to collect in a dilly bag, he slept with them under his head. This made the other people in the tribe fearful and frightened because he was able to change from man to pelican and did things like appear anywhere and could kill anyone. The people got together to talk about how they were feeling and what they wanted to happen. It was arranged for 3 men to kill him far away from the people and not on country. The family of the Muda was told the plan and spoke to their son about him leaving and going far away and not coming back because he was too clever. But the Muda didn’t want to leave and wanted to die on his land. He refused to leave, so the plan was still to kill him with a spear, the 3 men who the tribe chose, speared him from behind under the arm. He changed into a pelican, and this is when the actions of the creator shaped the land and life of the Wangkumara people. The family of the Muda were upset about their son, but knew it was the best for the people. When Muda was speared, he changed into a pelican, and he flew around high up into the trees. When he landed on the trees they turned into hills and mountains, his blood turned into shiny gold drops on the land. His beak was full of water and small fish when he opened his mouth it made a creek and provided the people with food forever.

The Dreamtime story teaches us about how doing the wrong things like collecting bones from old people who have died could cast an evil spell on you and change who you are.

The Wangkumara tribe Dreamtime story showed bravery in keeping what was good and keeping everyone safe and protected from harm. To keep everyone connected. And to live life respecting what they had been given by their ancestors and Muda.

Author’s Note:

This story was told by my Great Grandmother Lorna Dixon and documented in the book: The Opal That Turned into Fire. This Dreamtime story gives me a connection to my family, culture, tribe, and land. I feel overwhelmed when I read this story with my mum.

Family is my unity, it grounds me and connects me, gives me my identity, and my respect has been taught to me by my family. Reconciliation is having a connection to others, understanding, and accepting differences.

My Dreamtime story gives me inspiration to always love my culture and it gives me great happiness to know and hold these special stories from my ancestors so close to my heart forever.

Reconciliation Week is a week for all Australians to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, understand and talking about the history of the culture and acknowledge the achievements of our people.

Ochre Smith
Year 12 Student

Poster competition

As part of National Reconciliation Week, Middle School and Senior School Tutor Groups participated in a poster-making competition. Every morning, groups worked diligently on their posters to produce an impressive display. The posters were evaluated based on criteria including the incorporation of this year’s theme, Now More than Ever, their use of colour, technical design work, and the effectiveness of their message on Reconciliation.

Congratulations to Djarrak SS 1 for winning the National Reconciliation Week Poster Competition for their beautiful interpretation of this year’s theme, Now More than Ever.

It was very hard to pick a winner as all tutor groups did an amazing job. Honourable mentions go to:

- Nganabaru Senior School 1

- Pumarali Middle School 4

- Baru Senior School 3

- Pumarali Senior School 3

- Djarrak Senior School 2

The posters are displayed around the school.

A big thanks to all those involved.

Anthony Barker
Middle and Senior School English Teacher

Digital flags

In Computer Science class, 1 Gold students used Minecraft to creatively honour National Reconciliation Week. They built Aboriginal flags and formed the letters NRW, showcasing their understanding and support for reconciliation in a fun and meaningful way.

Marion Hoy
Drama & Computer Science Teacher

Powerful art

During National Reconciliation Week, the talented visual art students of HRS showcased their creative work exploring themes of reconciliation, diversity, and inclusion. One week before NRW, the students collaborated to show an understanding of Indigenous motifs and pattern designs. Students were able to discuss and present ideas for acrylic paintings on canvas. A powerful display greeted us as we moved through the Library space once their artworks were completed.

Anne McMaster
Head of Visual Art

Food to fuel the week

All week during National Reconciliation Week, our students and staff were treated to delicious fusion meals in our dining room, Mayoema. Featuring a blend of Indigenous flavours in non-Indigenous meals, the students chose from spoils like a kangaroo burger, crocodile popcorn and finger lime ice cream cones!

From little things, big things grow

Our Year 7P English class has been diving into the world of poetry! As part of National Reconciliation Week activities, students have explored Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody's powerful song 'From Little Things, Big Things Grow', and examined the historical significance of the Wave Hill Walk Off, as part of the Land Rights movement.

To unleash their creativity, students crafted their own blackout poetry using texts from the ‘Defining Moments Series’ by the National Museum. This exercise encouraged them to think deeply about how words and images can convey profound meanings. We're so proud of their insightful and expressive works!

Susannah Ritchie
Head of Teaching & Learning Coaching

Jumpers to be proud of

Our Year 12 jumpers arrived just in time for Reconciliation Week. Max and Robin look particularly proud with their skin names and local artwork emblazoned on the back! Thank you to our Deputy Head of Senior School, Ms Gates, for being a key supporter of this project.

Sammy Gates
Deputy Head of Senior School

Striving for excellence

Our staff have had the privilege of listening to, and learning from colleagues about the community life of our staff and students. We thank Tash, Morgan, Tammy and Shane for their generosity and guidance in helping us strive for excellence in Indigenous education. Tammy and Shane, also worked with alongside our Year 7 students on further developing their cultural competence. Through their business Mamanta, a Tiwi word for 'friends', cross cultural learning experiences connected students to Indigenous culture and to one another.