Our Story

Gawura was established in 2007 by St Andrew’s Cathedral School in response to systemic underachievement and the clear disparity in educational outcomes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Why is Gawura special?

  • Our students commence in Kindergarten – a critical, foundational year, and we keep classes small so we can care for students holistically.
  • Students learn about, and share each others culture which builds self-esteem, confidence and resilience in each child.
  • We work in partnership with community & our parents have a voice.
  • Gawura offers a dedicated bus service resulting in high attendance rates of 92-94%.
  • Gawura teaches a focused, dedicated literacy and numeracy programme in a culturally enriching environment.
  • Gawura is located near a large Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community (our bus collects children from areas including Redfern, Glebe and Waterloo).

Our focus:

  • We teach a culturally relevant curriculum.
  • Wiradjuri language is taught at Gawura and in the St Andrew’s Cathedral School Junior School.
  • Indigenous perspectives are taught in the classroom – connecting mainstream curriculum to Aboriginal history. Parents & Elders teach arts, crafts & culture.
  • We teach in partnership with families and communities and empower parents to become part of their child’s education.
  • Special events are celebrated throughout the year for example Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.
  • We provide pastoral care and mentoring for students and families.
  • There are pathways and milestone support throughout and beyond school to universities & TAFE.
  • We run the Gawura Volunteer Morning Reading Program each day with approximately 10 volunteers reading with K-6 students for 30 minutes.

Our Staff:

  • There are now 10 Indigenous staff in Gawura.
  • A full time Years 7-12 secondary mentor.
  • Community liaison coordinator (part-time).
  • A Wiradjuri language teacher who teaches in both Gawura and the Junior School of St Andrew’s Cathedral School.

To make a donation please click here.

Our Values

Block

Mission Statement

Gawura’s mission is to provide a quality Kindergarten to Year 6 education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in a caring, Christian environment. The emphasis is on high standards of literacy, numeracy and social skills that are foundations for life.

All graduates of Gawura are offered scholarships to St Andrew’s Cathedral School for secondary education. St Andrew’s vision is to inspire students to be passionate, creative learners who engage with the message of Christ and fully develop their gifts and abilities in order to serve in the world.

About Gawura

Gawura is a unique, coeducational Kindergarten to Year 6 day school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who live at home with their families. Engagement of the Gawura families, parents and carers is critical to the success of the program. With up to 28 students, Gawura is a highly-acclaimed, highly-regarded ‘lighthouse’ model for Indigenous education, offering students a supportive, nurturing space where they feel secure and learn at their own skill level, participating in individual numeracy and literacy programs. They achieve academic milestones daily and grow in their abilities in academic subjects, sport and the arts.

The school program is funded primarily by individual and family donors, corporates and foundations.

Head of Gawura

Block

Mr John Ralph

Gawura has a simple formula; the delivery of an explicit data driven curriculum, practice, high expectations and attendance being paramount.

The classroom programs are systemic and intensive, with an emphasis on literacy and numeracy, delivered in a culturally supportive and enriching environment. The Gawura program continues to promote identity and cultural understanding.

Our students are proud of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage. Wiradjuri classes are always a highlight of the week and the students take great pride in every cultural performance. Eminent educationalist, Dr Chris Sarra, once commented that “Education strengthens Aboriginality”.

As a bottom up educational model, enormous thanks goes to our incredibly committed parent body for their ongoing support and direction. An overall 93 per cent attendance cannot be underestimated and continues to demonstrate the value placed on school and school achievement.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our donors for supporting the Gawura Scholarship Fund and enabling our students to complete this amazing educational journey.

Mr John Ralph
Head of Gawura

Our Ambassadors

Pastor Ray Minniecon

Currently, Pastor Ray is the Director of Bunji Consultancies, a production company that supports the development of Aboriginal film and documentaries and leadership and business initiatives with various public and corporate clients. Ray has worked with the Anglican Diocese of...

Read more

Pastor Ray Minniecon

Currently, Pastor Ray is the Director of Bunji Consultancies, a production company that supports the development of Aboriginal film and documentaries and leadership and business initiatives with various public and corporate clients. Ray has worked with the Anglican Diocese of Sydney as Pastor and Director of Crossroads Aboriginal Ministries. He is the inaugural Chairperson of the Sydney Anglican Indigenous Peoples Committee and a Council member of St Andrew’s Cathedral School.

“To me personally, Gawura represents one of the most positive futures for our Aboriginal community in Sydney. These children are eager to learn, excelling in academic abilities, showing us that they want to achieve some big goals in their lives. They are my pride and joy.”

Pastor Ray is a descendant of the Kabi Kabi nation and the Gurang Gurang nation of South-East Queensland. He is also a descendant of the South Sea Islander people with connections to the people of Ambrym Island.

Professor Larissa Behrendt

Prof. Larissa Behrendt is the Professor of Indigenous Research and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a regular columnist for The Guardian. She also runs a radio program, Speaking...

Read more

Professor Larissa Behrendt

Prof. Larissa Behrendt is the Professor of Indigenous Research and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a regular columnist for The Guardian. She also runs a radio program, Speaking Out, each Sunday on ABC local radio.

She has published numerous textbooks on Indigenous legal issues. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and a founding member of the Australian Academy of Law.

She was awarded the 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year award and 2011 NSW Australian of the Year.

“I became involved with Gawura because I was interested in a model of education that focused on academic excellence within elite educational institutions but did not involve removing Indigenous children from their communities. The Gawura model has not only afforded Indigenous children the opportunity for a high quality education, it has fostered a relationship with the local Indigenous community through the families of those children.”

Professor Larissa Behrendt is a Eualeyai and Kamillaroi woman.

Mr Peter Warne

Peter Warne is an active member of the school community, being a former parent of the school and Chairman of the St Andrew’s Cathedral School Foundation. He is currently the chairman of Macquarie Group and is also chairman of ALE...

Read more

Mr Peter Warne

Peter Warne is an active member of the school community, being a former parent of the school and Chairman of the St Andrew’s Cathedral School Foundation. He is currently the chairman of Macquarie Group and is also chairman of ALE Property Group and OzForex Group and has one more term as an ASX director. He is a director of NSW Treasury Corp, a patron of the Macquarie University Foundation, and is on the Australian Office of Financial Management’s advisory board.

Our School

Learning Environment and Curriculum

Learn More