OUR Catholic feeder primary school for Medowie’s future Catherine McAuley College, St.Brigid’s Primary School, has had a special week at school, inviting Aboriginal elders and community members to help them to open their new Indigenous Cultural Garden.
Medowie and Tilligerry Indigenous students who attend St Brigid’s were a part of this special occasion, as they celebrated the traditional owners of our land, and the rich cultural heritage they have provided us.
The school has wanted to introduce an Indigenous Cultural Garden at St Brigid’s for some time.
St Brigid’s applied for a grant from Port Stephens Council under the banner of the Aboriginal Projects Fund, following the advice of the Worimi Green Team.
The school was then contacted by Jennifer Underwood, the Council’s Community Development and Engagement Officer, and invited to present the project to the Aboriginal Strategic Committee.
Teachers Mrs Hogan, Mr Wilson and Year 6 student Imani Welsh presented the project at the Council Offices on 13 May, 2016 and the project proposal was met with success.
“We are grateful to both the Aboriginal Strategic Committee and the Port Stephens Council for their favourable response to our request,” Principal David Palmer said.
The official opening was attended this week by Richard Kime, the Worimi Green Team Supervisor; Domonique Northam; Louise Campbell, the Education Officer (Aboriginal Education) from the Catholic Schools Office Newcastle; Brett Chambers from the Worimi Green Team; and Lorraine and Neville Lilley.
Neville Lilley is an elder of the Worimi people and a member of the Worimi Land Council.
Louise Campbell, Aboriginal Education Officer from the Catholic Schools Office spoke about the significance of this special new installation at St Brigid’s School.
“The cultural garden is about recognising the cultural significance and role of spiritual and cultural wellbeing of the students at St Brigid’s.”
“The identity of Aboriginal people who are linked to this place – the school community itself – is part of the local country as well as each person in it.
“The benefits of the garden extend not only to Aboriginal students and their families, but the whole school community in using the cultural garden and learning about Aboriginal culture.”
“It is full of totem poles with significant symbols and stories, and the garden is also a place to learn about the importance of caring for Country and its significance to Aboriginal people.”
By Rachael VAUGHAN