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The Long Walk – Dreamtime at The ‘G – National Reconciliation Week

The Long Walk – Dreamtime at The ‘G

Ahead of National Reconciliation Week next week, our students and families had the opportunity to travel to Melbourne for The Long Walk. National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

Michael Long is one of the best-known Aboriginal figures in AFL football. Between 1989 and 2001, he played for the Essendon Football Club and was a member of two premiership sides as well as being the winner of the 1993 Norm Smith Medal. Michael is a strong campaigner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cause in the AFL.

Michael made a stand against racial abuse in 1989, following an on-field incident with another player, which lead to him stating that racism has no place in any sport.

This then lead to Michael Long becoming one of the most prominent forces underpinning the racial abuse code which was later adopted by the AFL in the decade of the 90s. Michael retired from football in 2001 and continues to strongly support the stand against racism in any form. ‘The Long Walk’ was named after Michael Long and is an important event that shows Australia and the World, that we support a stance against racism.

From May 19 to 21, families from our Indigenous Community travelled to Melbourne to support The Long Walk. On Friday we visited Essendon Football Club and met with Michael Long and some of the Essendon players. Our students had the opportunity to gain a greater understanding about the importance of The Long Walk. On Saturday, we attended the Alexandra Gardens for The Long Walk activities and some went to Marvel Stadium to see the Indigenous AFL Round between North Melbourne and Sydney. Here we met the designer of the North Melbourne Indigenous Guernsey who talked about how the design developed.

Quotes from some of our students:

“The highlight of the trip to Melbourne was going to the footy game with my family and friends.” – Charlie Year 3

“My highlight was seeing Michael Long at Essendon Hanger and then seeing him before and after the footy game walking in the streets of Melbourne. The smoking ceremony was really special too and always is.” – Mason Year 3

“I loved that I got to see an AFL game and I got to sit behind the goals for the first time. It was a fun time going with my friends, we did a lot of walking and exploring. It was good that we shared the trip with the high school and I hope we do it again.” – Lachlan Year 6

“We saw the Crows players at the airport and I got their autographs, I got to sit behind the goals and I caught a ball. We got to play in the old hotel in the imaginary moving stairs at the Clarendon Hotel which was built in the Gold Rush in 1886. I got to share the trip with my Dad and brother and even saw my Mum with the Tjindu Foundation.” – Carter Year 2

Andrew Spencer, Indigenous Coordinator (Secondary) & Kate Tyrwhitt, Indigenous Coordinator (Primary).