Reconciliation Week 2020

Reconciliation Australia promotes and facilitates respect, trust and positive relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision, respectively.
Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds, and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. (Reconciliation Australia 2020, National Reconciliation Week, Canberra, viewed 3 June
2020, <>.)
Engadine High School has acknowledged Reconciliation Week in a myriad of ways.
* It was very special to begin many lessons with our own Acknowledgement of Country. Several of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students workshopped with Mr John Bursill to develop an Acknowledgement of Country for Engadine High School. John is a proud Dharawal man, a former student of Engadine High School, a father of current students and the President of the Sutherland Aboriginal Education Consultative Group. Please see our Acknowledgement of Country to follow.
* Year 11 Society and Culture began their reconciliation themed lesson with Stephanie Duric reading our Acknowledgement of Country. Ms Hart commented that she felt privileged to witness such mature, thoughtful and heart-warming conversations between students about the importance of this week and what it represents. Steph
Duric and Piper Ferguson were both so kind to share their personal stories.
* Mr Hermes’ class enjoyed a Reconciliation Week dot paint activity.
* All Year 7 English classes studied the award-winning book Little Bird’s Day during their Information Literacy classes with the Teacher Librarian, Ms Miller. The students were keen to discuss how the illustrations in Little Bird’s Day share Aboriginal culture with readers.
* Some Year 11 students put together an information package on Reconciliation Week which continues to be shared with all students via our digital platforms.
* Students thoroughly enjoyed watching the acclaimed 2020 documentary In My Blood It Runs in the Library at lunch time. This documentary follows ten-year-old Arrernte/Garrwa boy Dujuan and his family. Dujuan is a child-healer, a good hunter and speaks three languages.
* Yellow class studied the traditional ways of managing the land and the cool burning techniques and the advantages this technique has over current back burning methods. Their discussion was rich and provided the students with different perspectives on managing the land.
* Year 8 history has been studying National Sorry Day and Eddie Mabo as well as looking at the Murray Darling Basin, which led to a in depth discussion on connection to country. The students recently enjoyed a lesson in the outdoor learning area, Nanga Mai Ngura, discussing connection to country and learning through totems that students brought in to school.
* Yr 8 Italian classes have done some excellent work for Reconciliation Week! We kicked off with the new EHS Acknowledgment of Country. We also covered theAboriginal flag and its meaning, Aboriginal languages and explored how the loss of country, has led to the loss of language and culture.
* Yr 8 have also been very busy this week, learning about the Stolen Generation and what lessons can be learnt from the past to ensure that Australia is a better place for future generations.
* The students particularly enjoyed Baker Boy music and we were all impressed with the skill of those young men, switching between their Aboriginal Language and English. As language students, we know how difficult that challenge is!

Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We strive towards a more just, equitable nation by championing unity and mutual respect as we come together and connect with one another.
On this journey, Australians are all In This Together; every one of us has a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.


Acknowledgement of Country

We, students and staff at Engadine High School, proudly and respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this place. This is the clan country of the Dharawal speaking Noron Gerragal people.
We honour Elders, past, present and emerging for their commitment to the preservation of country, it’s culture, traditions and knowledge.
We are dedicated to healing wounds and scars that still remain with the meeting of two cultures.
Loving and caring for country saw this place for tens of thousands of years; our expectation is that you will care for it too.

“Burra Bungu Ni”
“We open our arms to you”


Little Bird’s Day and a journey to Gapuwiyak
During Reconciliation Week, all Year 7 English classes joined us in the Library to take part in an information session presented by Ms Miller. All week, when I looked up from my desk I could see amazing pictures of Ms Miller and her family in a remote Aboriginal community and caught snippets of stories about her connection to this place. Most of all I noticed how absolutely engaged the students were and how much they appreciated Ms Miller sharing her personal stories. My curiosity got the better of me and I asked to sit in on one of the presentations. Ms Miller introduced the award-winning book Little Bird’s Day written by Sally Morgan and illustrated by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr. Johnny comes from the remote East Arnhem Land community of Gapuwiyak where Ms Miller spent 4 years teaching. As a young single woman, she was adopted into an Aboriginal family and lived closely with the members of the community – learning so much about Yolngu Culture. Ms Miller brought in gifted paintings, woven baskets, yidaki (didgeridoo) and string bags from her time with the community and shared some amazing stories about living and teaching in such a remote area.
The students were tasked with “How do the illustrations in Little Bird’s Day share Aboriginal culture with readers?” The students thoughtfully answered Ms Miller’s questions and asked many questions relating to Aboriginal art and schooling and living in a remote Aboriginal community.
Mrs Kerry Bell
Library Assistant


05th Jun 2020