Gawura NAIDOC and 10 Year Anniversary Celebration

6 July, 2017

Reflections on NAIDOC and Gawura 10-year anniversary

Babirra ngumbaay Ngadhu, Ngindhu, Ngiayanhi Australian (…and sing with one voice; I am, you are, we are Australian)

What a tremendous finale to our Gawura NAIDOC and 10 Year Anniversary assembly – “ 200 Gawura and SACS Years 3-6 Junior School voices singing “We are Australian” in Wiradjuri and English in St Andrew’s Cathedral. Special thanks to Kayliah Keegan for introducing the song, to Aunty Beth for translating the words into Wiradjuri, Peta-Joy Williams for teaching the students and Kate Robertson for conducting.

There was not a dry eye in the audience as the students stole the show, bringing many to tears. Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community – students, parents, carers, teachers, then recessed out of the Cathedral to the sounds of the didgeridoo played by our first Gawura graduate, Ivor Rigney-Sebastian.

Starting with a moving Smoking Ceremony on Sydney Square performed by Uncle Stephen Williams accompanied by Gawura’s first graduate, Ivor Rigney-Sebastian, Gawura founding member Sharon Minniecon welcomed guests to this auspicious occasion –  the 10 Year Anniversary of Gawura and NAIDOC celebration. Thank you to Jacqueline Jacky for the Acknowledgement of Country in Sydney Square.

Witnessing the Ceremony were the Gawura and SACS communities, family, friends and donors and volunteers of Gawura – filling up Sydney Square.

In the Cathedral, Dr Collier and guest speaker Professor Larissa Behrendt eloquently summed up the significance of the occasion as did Rev Kanishka Raffel who finished with a prayer of reconciliation and unity.

The Gawura students performed a fantastic play “Tiddalick” they created themselves with the guidance of Peta-Joy Williams and introduced by Imani Hewitt. We witnessed the Gawura students’ achievements this year with the K -12 certificate awards where Gawura alumni, Rachel and Georgia Durmush came back to school especially to hand out the certificates. The Cathedral erupted when the announcement was made that Gawura Year 12 student, Kade Dawson, received a special 10 Year Anniversary Award for his ongoing commitment to his studies and for being the best student across SACS and Gawura in Year 12.

A lovely afternoon tea followed where we sang happy birthday to Gawura and the kids didn’t take long to demolish the delicious cake made by former SACS mum Anthea Leonard! Thanks to Robyn Yates, AIS and Sharon Minniecon, we also officially opened the Gawura Ngara Centre.

What a special afternoon and a fantastic display of unity, respect, collaboration and inclusivity.

Thank you to Kirsten Macaulay, John Ralph, the Gawura teachers, students, alumni and families and EVERYONE involved for making this such a wonderful afternoon. A special thank you to Melanie Collins and Lucy Robson for taking video footage and photos on the day – the video and photos can be found on our Facebook Page!

Enjoy the school holidays!

Lucy Crook Director of Development (Gawura)

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