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From the Principal

Dear St Michael’s College Community,

National Reconciliation Week

The theme for National Reconciliation Week (NRW) in 2022 is to “Be Brave. Make a Change.” Reconciliation Australia is challenging all Australians (individuals, families, communities, organisations and governments) to be brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so that all Australians will benefit from ‘making a change’.

In 2021, we were encouraged to take action; not just in National Reconciliation Week, but every week of the year. This year, we are challenged to make change beginning with brave actions in our daily lives – where we live, work, play and socialise. This is a chance for us all to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

The dates for NRW (27 May to 3 June each year) commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively. Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Primary and Secondary staff and students acknowledged NRW with many activities. At the Secondary Campus, there were Indigenous themed prayers to start the day, competitions, delicious morning teas with indigenous inspired foods prepared by the Food Technology students, Library presentations, and Indigenous information for staff and students streamed throughout the campus. Sam Gollan (Kaurna Artist) visited to plan Artwork for the Kaurna area and David Booth (Indigenous Artist), will be working with our Art staff and students for the remainder of the Term. As NRW overlapped this year with Italian Week, artwork by Dr Paola Balla, a highly acclaimed and accomplished Indigenous/Italian Artist, was also a feature.

On Saturday 4 June, the First XVIII Football Team will be wearing an Indigenous Guernsey proudly designed by Year 12 student Halle Rigney for their Reconciliation Round. In describing the design, Halle said “When approaching the concept, I wanted to include my totem and my Indigenous background, whilst also incorporating the College into the design. The Kungari (black swan) on the front of the guernsey symbolises my nation groups totem of the Ngarrindjeri peoples who’s rwi (land) are the lower rivers Murray, Lakes and Coorong. The groups surrounding the Kungari (black swan) symbolise my journey from Year 7 to Year 12 and symbolise a few boys in the First XVIII whose final year it is. The footprints surrounding the meeting groups are each boy’s journey playing for the College team and their journey in life, paving the way for their future, and how the St Michael’s community and culture will stick with us forever”. Mickey O’Brien (Kaurna Elder) will be conducting a ceremony prior to the first bounce on Saturday.

The Primary Campus students and staff were also very busy during NRW week. Read all about their activities in the article written by Ms Kate Tyrwhitt below.


Our National Reconciliation Week events began on Friday 27 May with the Primary Campus Tjindu Foundation and Vilii’s Bakery donut fundraiser. The college raised $207 for the Tjindu Foundation, an organisation in Port Adelaide that supports the sporting excellence of Aboriginal children as well as develop programs on leadership, cultural awareness, health and well-being programs.

The donuts looked and tasted amazing, and the photographs speak for themselves for how much the children enjoyed them!

In order to ‘Be Brave and Make Change’, students need knowledge and understanding and this is where the teachers make a difference and work to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into the curriculum all year round.

Early Primary tend to learn about Care for Country (Yerta), spirituality, language groups and diverse cultures. In Year 1 the Dreamtime stories of how the landforms and regions came to be such as Tjilbruke dreaming and Red Kangaroo Dreaming. Year 3 students will be making Tjanpi Desert woven creatures inspired by Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) women in South Australia in Art lessons. Year 4s last year learned about film-making with Martin Pascoe with expressing tales of resilience, identity and an introduction to being a survivor of The Stolen Generation. From that program the teachers now have authentic examples of student learning related to what Reconciliation actually means. Year 5 students will be learning about Maralinga nuclear testing which happened in South Australia during the late 1950’s to 1963. This had a devastating effect on the people and the land. Once again this relates to their units of investigation with sustainable forms of energy as well as care for our country. Year 6 students will be learning about the Uluru Statement From the Heart, Native Title and Referendums which relates to Civics and Citizenship. Aboriginal songs and dances are being learned in Music and Performing Arts. Ancient artforms and contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art is explored throughout the year in the Visual Arts program.

During outdoor classroom day the Year 1 students participated in a workshop run by Footsteps on Aboriginal Culture through dance. The three classes really enjoyed learning the different animal movements to the engaging music. Chelsea from Footsteps connected well with the students and they picked up the moves very quickly. Please watch the video below of the workshop.

We have many different species of bush tucker growing in our garden, wetlands and Nature Play West. Year 2 and 4 students have helped to plant them all under the supervision of teachers and Sustainability Officer, Mrs Robyn Palmer. Students also designed some cool signs. We thank Charles Sturt City Council and Provenance Nursery for the donation of plants. We look forward to being able to eat the produce cooked up by Year 1 and Year 3 SAKGP students.

Finally, we have an early primary netball team guernsey design competition running this week. The winner will be judged by the South Australian Aboriginal Netball Academy athletes and coaches and Tjindu Foundation General Manager Kellie Graves. There is a prize and the winning designs will be transferred onto the player bibs for our early primary netball team with the assistance of Ms Tyrwhitt. This is a big change and a first for our campus as we look to the future and develop these young sports people.

Reconciliation can’t happen in a week, but the learning experiences of this week strengthen our resolve to ensure that at the primary campus all voices are heard and we can all feel connected.

We know that we are always learning and always will be.

Kind regards,

Mr Damian Patton
Acting Principal