Welcome to Term Two, 2017
The solemnities of the feast of Easter have passed but the ongoing message of Christ’s love and self-sacrifice stands. It is remembered too in the scriptural epithet or saying often inscribed on war memorials: ‘greater love hath no man than this; that he should lay his life down for his friend’. Sometimes this biblical expression is abbreviated to: Greater love hath no man … ANZAC Day recalls that supreme sacrifice made by so many. It is appropriate that the College reflects on the symbolism of the day and that as a community we do our best to live out the College prayer which in part refers to the Lord God whose spirit of wisdom dwelling in the Yawuru country may teach us... and asks that each of us respect and support others ...with a listening heart.
Indigenous Australian Soldiers
This year the ANZAC Day ceremonies at Bedford Park have particular significance for Broome as 2017 marks the seventy fifth anniversary of the attack on Broome by the Japanese forces. This is also a time to think about other aspects of wars Australia has been involved in and that goes back to the international conflicts referred to as the Boer War and World War One. Frontier conflict during the colonial era is another aspect of war that has been less reported in the standard texts or books about those times. A focus of Reconciliation Australia is to build on the progress that has been achieved since then without minimising the impact of settlement and cultural disruption.
Many Indigenous Australian soldiers joined non-indigenous soldiers in World War I, despite being initially excluded if it was considered that they were not European enough in appearance. Gradually more Aboriginal volunteers were enlisted as the war casualties and the failure of the conscription campaign persuaded the authorities to accept their offers to serve. It is thought that many felt that by joining up, ‘the government’ would in turn shift from the paternalistic stance of the late nineteenth century and admit Aboriginal people to full identity and rights as Australians. All the soldiers received the same pay without discrimination on the basis of race. But when those who had not died on the battlefield in the khaki uniform returned to Australia they still did not have full citizenship rights and freedom to socialise with other ex- Diggers such as joining them at the local hotel after an ANZAC parade or being included in the ballots for land for returned soldiers.
For more information including a referenced alphabetical listing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men who volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force during the war see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteers for the AIF: the Indigenous response to World War One.
Indigenous Australians at war: A brief history of Indigenous Australians at War. [6 November 2013].
Also: Indigenous Australian servicemen - Australian War Memorial. [6 November 2013]. Ex state Library NSW
First nations: After World War I there was a treaty agreed to by international powers referred to as the Treaty of Versailles which saw the creation of League of Nations. But the focus was not on the Indigenous population of the territories under consideration, but rather the interests of the sovereign powers or governing authorities of those countries which had been enmeshed in the war. Now in the twenty first century there is a renewed drive to rectify that and to recognise the traditional cultures and rights of the original inhabitants or ‘First Nations’. The foundation of St Mary College in 1908 was both a recognition of the schooling needed by Aboriginal children and also the children of Japanese families. The College has continued to serve the Aboriginal people of the Kimberley and the broader multicultural community which has evolved and is an expression of reconciliation.
There is now a major programme, Narragunnawali, which supports all schools and early learning services in Australia to develop environments that foster a higher level of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions.
Narragunnawali (pronounced narra-gunna-wally) is a word from the language of the Ngunnawal people, Traditional Owners of the land on which Reconciliation Australia’s Canberra office is located, meaning alive, wellbeing, coming together and peace.
Supporters of Reconciliation Australia
“Here in Australia we’re fortunate enough to have one of the richest and oldest continuing cultures in the world. This is something we should all be proud of and celebrate.”
AWARDS: Congratulation to all the Students who received Awards at the whole College Assembly on Wednesday 5th April. If you are looking for extra help then come to the Homework Club which offers an opportunity for all secondary students to consolidate their learning with teacher assistance. This is held at the Secondary Library between 2:30 and 3:30 pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during term.
Taiji travellers: I was very impressed by the tales from the Taiji travellers when we met them at the airport after their long time in transit – some thirty hours. The resilience they showed and the caring attitudes were apparently features of this cultural exchange which has become a feature of St Mary’s College. Some of the oral history gained by Ms Anthea Demin included that shared by a 90 year old whose grandfather’s grave is here in Broome. Another elderly lady brought out papers and photographs of her grandfather’s internment in Australia during WWII. He was interned from Broome and never came home to Taiji.
Parent-teacher Interviews: The interviews for Secondary students are scheduled for May 2nd. Please make an appointment to discuss your child’s progress and so encourage a sustained effort to make the most of the advantages offered at St Mary’s. To book an interview please click on the following link:
Parent Teacher Interviews.
Traffic flow: The Primary campus car park upgrades are underway and changed conditions call for renewed care and patience when negotiating the changes. We ask that parents are extremely mindful of using the drop off and pick up zone appropriately, no cars are to be left unattended in this space please.
Vale: The College has been advised of the recent death in Sydney of Sr Mary (Mary Margaret) Roarty ibvm, the daughter of the late Stanislaus and Winifred Roarty. There will be many among the College community and parish of Broome who will recall with affection the contribution made to St Mary’s over many years by Sr Mary Roarty, a Loreto nun who came to Broome with Sr Angela Slattery in 1981. They lived in the convent at Mary Street and joined other Loreto nuns teaching at St Mary’s.
The College extends its prayers and sympathy to the Loreto institute and the members of Sr Mary’s family.
May she rest in Peace
Appointment: As you will know Mr Pepper is on Leave during the first five weeks of Term Two and that Dr McDonald, the Director of Catholic Education in Western Australia, has invited me to again take the role of ‘Short Term’ Principal at St Mary’s College. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to return to the College community and to work with the students and staff, parents and parish who so impressed me during my previous appointment to the role in 2015.
May the message of Easter and the ANZAC commemorations help each of us to forge a commitment to peace and to reconciliation.