More Than Ever … Reconciliation Week 2024

Reconciliation Week at Casey Grammar is founded in our desire as a school with Christian foundations to ensure that we are looking at the past, seeing how it shapes our present and doing what we can to move together in a spirit of reconciliation. We enjoyed many different activities across the school when we acknowledged the past, and celebrated culture and creativity, as well as enjoying some delicious food.

Flowers and Flags

Staff, school leaders and the Year 6 students gathered together at the flag pole on 27 May to recognise National Sorry Day (26 May). We recognised the pain and trauma caused by generations of Government policies involving the removal of children, laying flowers and lowering the flags as a sign of respect. Although the official policies finished in the 1970s, 50 years is actually not that long ago when we consider that families are connected across generations, and that the severing of ties also impacts across generations.

A Puzzle Unlike Any Other in the School

We were delighted to launch our new Kulin Nations map created by Mr Young and the Year 8 Woodworking class this year. Many people know that Bunurong Country is part of the Kulin Nations but may not understand what it means. At the Junior School and Senior School assemblies we were delighted to share this puzzle that shows clearly how the five nations came together as one, separated by rivers and natural boundaries. A huge thanks to Mr Young for his incredible vision to make this piece with his students.

What Was That Occupation?

We were excited to have a community film and discussion afternoon at school at the start of Reconciliation Week. The film’s title, Occupation: Native comes from the realisation that the narrator’s mum had listed on her birth certificate that her occupation was ‘native’. As I continue to learn about our history and the pain of colonisation, I find more and more things that amaze me — but the idea of listing ‘native’ as an occupation was completely new. If you missed it, please take an hour to watch it by simply logging in to your child’s Clickview account. It is easily accessible, engaging, funny and thought provoking.

Powerful Art Shapes Understanding

About 20 members of our community attended an after-school excursion to Bunjil Place to Kungka Kanpu (Strong Women). We were privileged to have Sarah share with us some of the stories behind the exhibit and the specific artworks that have travelled all the way from the APY Lands. It is on until 21 July, and all of us who went would highly recommend a holiday trip. At the conclusion of the excursion, we stood around and shared what we had learned. For me, one of the most powerful realisations was that it is never too late to be creative — some of the incredible artworks were created by artists who commenced painting in their 80s.

Let’s Cook!

Around 25 Senior School students gathered to learn how to use and cook with various native ingredients. We also really enjoyed cooking with a number of Junior School classes using wattleseed, saltbush, pepper-berry and lemon-myrtle.

Here are some reflections by the students.

“My group made lemon myrtle cookies from scratch in the lunch reconciliation cooking class. This was an amazing experience that was very enjoyable to do.” Mahi

“My group and I were able to make our own chocolate. In this we had to start by scratch. I would recommend this to anyone who loves to cook and have fun.” Ela

“I really enjoyed it and I love cooking. I also got the opportunity to interact with new people.” Hassan

A Powerful Junior School Reconciliation Week Assembly

The amazing 2S hosted our Reconciliation Week assembly where we had CJ commence so powerfully with his Acknowledgment of Country in language, as well as by playing the didgeridoo (Yidaki in Wiradjuri) before the class shared the beautiful story of A home for Bilby. Congratulations to all the students as well as to Ms Schultz for all her work in preparation.

In addition, students have had the opportunity to engage with various activities as part of our Reconciliation Week. Sincere thanks to all staff who have supported the week and made it possible.

As we look forward to our final few weeks of the term, we are anticipating the Year 2 class Chapel services as well as our Senior School Reid and Trist House Chapel. Year 2 families and special friends are welcome to join us — please look out for the letter that will be distributed to Year 2 families.

Every blessing to you all in the coming week.

Monique Riviere-Pendle