NAIDOC Week celebrations at Bossley Park Public School

On 1 August 2018, Bossley Park Public School held its annual NAIDOC Week Celebrations.

An important and highly anticipated time in the school calendar, students were very busy in the lead up to Bossley Park Public School’s NAIDOC Week celebrations.

To celebrate the school’s new flagpoles proudly flying the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian flags, students from each class painted pavers with different Aboriginal symbols to place in the flagpole area to commemorate the importance of flying each of the three flags as part of Australia’s rich and shared history.

On the day of the NAIDOC Week celebrations, the school was decorated in a sea of red, yellow and black balloons. Students and staff also came dressed in black, yellow and red to represent the colours of the Aboriginal flag.

Celebrations began with Bossley Park Public School’s Aboriginal students, Jordan, Thaison, Ruby and Declan sharing the school’s personalised Acknowledgement of Country that they created with the help of the SRC and Aunty Carol and Lesley Marks from the Aboriginal Education and Wellbeing Office. The Acknowledgement of Country the students developed not only acknowledges the Cabrogal clan of the Darug nation, but affirms a commitment about sharing and learning about the oldest continuous culture on Earth with the vibrant multicultural community of the school.

Whilst sharing Acknowledgement of Country with the school community, the students also unveiled the painting Jordan created with her friends Rozalita and Jessica. Painted during many recess and lunch times, the painting featured the box tree and cobra worm. As learnt during Culture Club, these are important symbols to the Cabrogal clan, with box trees being plentiful in the area and the cobra worm being an important food source.

Then, the school choir and Culture Club students sang the national anthem in both Dharawal language and English. The students sounded amazing and were so proud to show their hard work in learning how to sing the national anthem in Dharawal language from Fairfield Local AECG President, Miss Janene McPherson.

Next, Mrs Betts and student Jordan addressed the assembly and spoke about the 2018 NAIDOC Week theme, Because Of Her We Can. Mrs Betts spoke about the amazing achievements that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have contributed to our country, as well as the Aboriginal women, including herself, that make a difference in our school on a daily basis. Jordan spoke about her role model, Jessica Mauboy, and how she has inspired her to be a strong and confident Aboriginal girl who is proud of her culture.

Following the speeches, Les Daniel and Terry Olsen from Tribal Warriors performed a smoking ceremony to cleanse and bless the new flagpole areas. It was very moving and exciting. Les and Terry also did a didgeridoo performance. The students and parents were very engaged, with many not having seen such a performance before.

To close the ceremony, the Warrabang Waggagee dance group from Bonnyrigg Public School did a series of dances.

Once the ceremony ended, students went back to their classes and researched important Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women to create a profile page about. Cathy Freeman, Bronwyn Bancroft, Deborah Mailman, Evonne Goolagong, Truganini, Barangaroo, Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Fanny Cochrane Smith were some of the women the students studied.

After recess, the whole school assembled in the flagpole area once again. Two student representatives from each class then explained what symbol they chose to paint on their class paver and the meaning of the symbol. All of the class representatives were very informative and extremely proud to share their paver with the whole school.

Today, the flagpole area is the heart of Bossley Park Public School. With the three flags flying high and the vibrant colours and important Aboriginal symbols on pavers below them, students are reminded on a daily basis of the important role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures have and continue to play in the shaping of our country.

Story Contributed by Danielle Vuong from Bossley Park Public School. Published in 2018.