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National Reconciliation Week

Zachary Bennett-Brook with students

In the year 2000, 300,000 Australians including Waverley students, walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of National Reconciliation Week (NRW). The theme this year was, ‘More than a word, Reconciliation takes action.’  The College held a number of events last week to mark NRW for students and staff.

Uncle John Allen officially opened Reconciliation Week at the College with a Smoking Ceremony and blessing in the Centenary Quadrangle. During the week, Zachary Bennett-Brook, a contemporary Indigenous artist of Torres Strait Islander ancestry and owner of Saltwater Dreamtime painted a mural adjoining the Kenny Quad. His trademark work integrates his passion for the ocean and the environment, and has gained him global recognition including work at Bondi Beach.

Students and staff enjoyed interacting with Zac and watching him as he worked. His finished mural (below) is painted in Waverley colours, with the smaller dots representing students and the larger dots representing teachers, staff and families making up the Waverley Community. The lines are symbolic of the diversity in the community and the different pathways and journeys that each person takes. Our Aboriginal students from Years 5 – 11 attended a special lunch with Zachary and heard him speak about his upbringing and journey in life that brought him to his current success.

Artist Zachary Bennett-Brook

Artist Zachary Bennett-Brook and the New Waverley Mural

The National Reconciliation Week College Assembly run by students, concluded the week’s celebrations with special guest speaker, Michael O’Loughlin. The presentation of the newly-designed College Indigenous jersey, designed by talented artist Billy Reynolds, was a highlight of the event.

“We all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures.” — Reconciliation Australia.

 

Ms Marie-Anne Maakrun

Assistant Director Identity and Student Formation

E: mmaakrun@waverley.nsw.edu.au