Mazenod College

Aboriginal Reconciliation Week at Mazenod College

Mazenod College is situated in the Wurundjeri tribal area.

On the 9 August 2001, the Social Justice Committee of Mazenod inaugurated an Aboriginal Reconciliation Week. The week began with a smoking ceremony, the significance of which was to acknowledge our presence here on the land and to rid ourselves of any evil spirits. What followed this was the unveiling of a banner which displayed our mission statement. This mission statement is a permanent reminder of our commitment to contribute to the reconciliation process with Aboriginal Australians.

The smoking ceremony could only be conducted by an Aboriginal leader. As Wurundjeri elder Professor Joy Murphy-Wandin was overseas, we invited Vicky Walker from the Australian Catholic Ministry of Melbourne to help make this week a successful one.

After the welcoming of the Wurundjeri people, Years 7 and 8 students were given an informative lesson on the way of the people by Wally Cooper and his son Kevin from the Koorie Heritage Trust. They demonstrated to the students how they lived differently in the Australian bush, using natural resources to help survive. This was then followed by tribal warfare activities held outside in small groups.

On Monday 13 August Vicky Walker returned to lead an activity with all the Year 9 and 10 students. The aim of this activity was to help to clearly understand what the Aboriginal people had to go through when they were separated from their families. This activity touched many hearts, with both students and teachers involved

On Tuesday, school bells for the whole day were changed to the sounds of the didgeridoo and clap sticks. And on Wednesday 15, to conclude Aboriginal Reconciliation week, there was a focus on Reconciliation at the mass for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the end of the mass, the tree given to us at Reconciliation Gayip was blessed and planted in the college gardens. The following Thursday, the Year 12 Religious Education Day was devoted to Aboriginal Reconciliation.

It is our intention at Mazenod to annually hold a Reconciliation Day, building on what in we have achieved and continuing to create stepping stones for the future.

The Mission Statement held here by the Rector Fr. John P. Sherman and Social Justice Committee member Joseph De Rango.