Newington College

Reflections on the Indigenous Program in 2024

Reflections on the Indigenous Program in 2024

Image: Year 8 students show off their artwork at the Wandana education incursion.

As our Newington staff and students enjoy some well-earned rest over the holidays, this week marks the beginning of NAIDOC Week 2024, making it an ideal time to reflect on the significant progress of the Indigenous Support Program in 2024.

The aims of the program are to provide a rich and diverse educational experience for our Indigenous students, which honours their culture and allows them to thrive, and to advance reconciliation by embedding Aboriginal perspectives into the curriculum in an authentic way – increasing the cultural knowledge of all members of the College community.

A cornerstone of our program has been the ongoing relationship with Redfern Jarjum College. Our First Nations students have continued their fortnightly visits to mentor Jarjum’s students, fostering a strong sense of community and leadership. This initiative not only supports the younger students at Jarjum but also empowers our students, reinforcing their cultural identity and commitment to service.

As one of the most highly respected loremen on the east coast of Australia, Uncle John is an amazing asset to Newington. His fortnightly visits to the Stanmore, Wyvern and Lindfield campuses have been a highlight of the program, providing an invaluable Indigenous perspective across various subjects including music, science, visual arts and commerce. These sessions have enriched our curriculum and deepened students’ understanding of Indigenous knowledge and cultural heritage.

A significant addition to the Indigenous program this year has been our partnership with Bandu, a social enterprise dedicated to improving outcomes for Indigenous students as they transition out of high school. This collaboration ensures that our Indigenous students are well-prepared for life beyond Newington. In Term 1, Bandu organised a careers day at the Greater Western Sydney Giants, offering our students a unique insight into the diverse career opportunities available in professional sports, particularly in off-field roles.

Newington First Nations student join students from Riverview, PLC, and Barker for a careers day at GWS Giants Football Club.

Image: Newington First Nations student join students from Riverview, PLC, and Barker for a careers day at GWS Giants Football Club. 

Term 2 featured our celebration of National Reconciliation Week, which was a profound and unifying experience for the entire school. The whole school assembly was memorable, with Uncle Les McLeod joining us and Indigenous students performing a special welcome dance. Following the assembly, all Year 8 students participated in an Aboriginal education workshop run by Wandana Aboriginal Education. This workshop provided a hands-on learning experience, allowing students to examine ancient artefacts and contribute to a collaborative Aboriginal artwork. This activity not only enhanced their understanding of Indigenous history and culture but also fostered a deeper respect and appreciation for it.

Reconciliation Week also offered our Indigenous students further opportunities to showcase their cultural heritage through performances at the St Aloysius’ College and Wyvern reconciliation assemblies, as well as the boarding house reconciliation dinner. These events highlighted the pride our students take in their culture and the important role they play in promoting understanding and respect within our school community.

Image: Performing at the Reconciliation assembly.

We look forward to welcoming all students back after the holidays and continuing the good work of the Indigenous Support Program in Semester 2.

Mr Ruairidh Wilson
Indigenous Support Coordinator