Gawura takes centre stage at Head of School Commissioning

29 March, 2022

Earlier this month our school community gathered to formally welcome Dr Julie McGonigle as the 15th Head of School, which was described in some circles as an event akin to a “coronation”.

The new Head of St Andrew’s Cathedral School and Gawura was formally commissioned in a celebration that spanned two services in two locations and included the whole school community in equal measure.

Gawura played a vital part in inducting Dr McGonigle in the two celebrations, held in the Cathedral and Sydney Town Hall.

Students performed a rousing rendition of I Am Australian, which included a chorus sung in the Wiradjuri language.

The translation of the chorus was written by renowned Wiradjuri teacher Aunty Beth – Elizabeth Joyce Wright and shared with us by Peta-Joy Williams.

“We are one, but we are many – Ngi-yan-hi ngum-baay, Ngi-yan-hi-nu-la-bang” rang out loud and proud in the Town Hall on 14 March as another small musical step towards reconciliation was taken.

We were also pleased to welcome back Gawura alumni Izak Rigney Sebastian (OA2019) who gave a wonderful Didgeridoo performance while Pastor Ray Minniecon and Year 9 student Aliyah Parker-Elrez gave the respective acknowledgements of country.

Jennarose Jackson, Gawura school captain, gave a brilliant speech, expressing how much fun she has at school with all her friends.

School Captain Joshua Ralph, paying tribute to his Indigenous heritage said: “We encourage vigorous debate around diversity and inclusion, and we respect and honour the importance of our Indigenous people.

“In previous generations or in other school settings I may not feel as comfortable sharing my heritage but here I stand being proud of my Indigenous culture. SACS truly is a special place.”

Summing up the occasion during her brilliant speech, Dr McGonigle said: “I think this afternoon gave us a perfect window into the depths of the soul of this school and the heights of the spirit of this school and for that I am grateful”.

To watch a recording of the incredible Commissioning Celebration in Sydney Town Hall, which brought the entire school community of more than 2000 together, click here.



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