In 2013 the Belgrave South primary School, Reconciliation Committee was formed and began formulating the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for our school.
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) 2014
Dr Gott established the Aboriginal Garden at Monash University, this educational garden has examples of plants eaten and used by the first Australians. Dr Beth Gott explained to the students that the first Australians not only used the plants as a food source but many were also used as medicines.
Dr Beth Gott showed many different examples of plants and presented to our school a Vanilla Lily Plant which will take pride of place in our Indigenous Garden.
Dr Gott shared a wealth of knowledge with the students about her research into indigenous plants. “I know I learnt a lot and I am sure the students did too. Thank you to the organising committee and Carla Nimiczeck and her gardening team. Make sure you take time to look at the garden and the new art work. It is looking fantastic”, Dr Gott said.
Dr Gott is well known for her sresearch into Indigenous use of plants in south-eastern Australia
Also, as part of the NRW celebrations, the grade 5 and 6′s studied four Aboriginal stories:
- ‘How the Moon came to be‘ from the Northern Territory,
- ‘How the Sun came to be‘ from Central Victoria,
- ‘Two Brothers and the Pointer Stars‘ from Northern Fliders Ranges of South Australia and
- ‘The First Fire‘ from the north coast of New South Wales.
The groups read and studied the their story, summarised and illustrated it and reported back to their peers for them to learn about.
The Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony
On Monday 21st August 2013, Belgrave South Primary School was privileged to welcome some very important visitors, Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Bill Nicholson, his sons Willie and Damo as well as Cathy and her daughter.
Preps, Grade 1 and 2 students spent the morning learning more about the Wurundjeri people, their history pre and post contact with Europeans, their respect of the land, the lore and lives. Later the children were taught to through the Boomerang as well as learning and performing the dance of Bunjil, the Wedge-tailed Eagle Creator Spirit, awakening people and animals.
Some of our learning involved listening to Uncle Bill talk about the history of the local custodians of our land, learning about tools and animal totems and even Aboriginal games like Marngrook which is said to be a precursor to Australian football but using a possum skin footy.
The afternoon session was a very significant time, where Uncle Bill led a ‘Welcome to Country‘ and ‘Smoking Ceremony‘ to anoint our new Indigenous Garden. The ceremony involved dancing the creation story and the Smoking Ceremony where all students, staff and parents (in attendance) then walked through the smoke to represent our togetherness.
We are very fortunate to be learning from Uncle Bill and are enjoying the process of becoming more aware of the history of the land we live on.