National Reconciliation Week takes place from 27 May to 3 June and is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

This year, the theme was ‘Be a Voice for Generations’ which encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives — where we live, work and socialise.

Many activities took place during lunchtimes as well as awareness being raised in a number of classes.

Badges of Wurun leaves made by staff and students were handed out after a talk in the Ministry Lounge about their significance. Cupcakes were also baked and distributed to celebrate the week. A beautiful liturgy was written and led by Year 12 Ministry students (pictured below) and to conclude the week staff and students were invited to tie ribbons onto the chapel railings as a sign of their commitment to reconciliation.

Students also represented MLMC at the annual sports carnival held at Worawa Aboriginal College in Healesville. Read about the carnival HERE.

We are very grateful to have this experience to learn, and use the strength of courage to `Be a Voice for Generations’.

Long Walk for Reconciliation

Mr Matthew Burow
9June2023 The Long Walk at Aquinas1

On Tuesday 30 May, during National Reconciliation Week, Thomas H (Mercy and Justice Prefect), Monique B, Natasha H, Yasmin R and Jena S represented MLMC with many other primary and secondary schools at Aquinas College for their annual Long Walk for Reconciliation March. Before going on walk through Ringwood (pictured below), students heard about the importance of solidarity from Leanne Brooke, a representative from The Long Walk Foundation.

Below are some student reflections of the event:

To be able to walk in solidarity with other local schools on reconciliation week was very special. The year 11 Aquinas students performed one of Midnight Oil’s brilliant songs, The Dead Heart. It was an honour to represent the school at Aquinas. It was a very powerful display of support for our First Peoples.
— Thomas H (Year 12 Orange)

Going to Aquinas College to participate in their Long Walk was an amazing experience. Hearing Leanne Brooke speak about her experiences was very eye opening. I’m very grateful that I got the opportunity to be a part of something so special.
— Monique B (Year 12 Orange)

My time at Aquinas College was brilliant. We, as a group, got the chance to hear from Leanne Brooke, as she shared the stories of her past and how she wishes to change racism in the future.
— Natasha H (Year 11 Red)

The Long Walk at Aquinas College was lovely. It was nice to see so many people get involved. Listening to Leanne Brooke talk about her experience with racism was very confronting and I am so glad that we got to hear her story.
— Yasmin R (Year 12 White)

I felt so proud to represent MLMC at Aquinas. It was an astounding experience to be part of taking a stance. I admire how proud Leanne Brooke was to be a Gunditjmara woman. This is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.
— Jena S (Year 11 White)

Reconciliation Shrine excursion 

Terry Hill
Humanities teacher
Shrine excursion photo2

On Wednesday 31 May, as part of National Reconciliation Week, 15 students from Years 7 to 9, along with Deputy Principal — Learning and Teaching Mrs Anita Kay-Taylor, Humanities Faculty Learning Leader Mr John Ryan and myself attended the 14th annual ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance recognising the war service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Below are some student reflections of the experience:

The service started with the smoking ceremony, then all these people were coming up to speak about the right of respecting the Indigenous soldiers. We listened to the songs some of the people who gathered sang, including my community Yeng Gali Mullum, and finally we laid the wreaths at the eternal flame. After some food we went into the Shrine of Remembrance where we got to see the uniforms, pictures of the Indigenous soldiers, and even the crypt.
— Jesse D (Year 8 Orange)

Before the beginning of the first ceremony, a man was creating smoke from fire and leaves and branches. The smoke kept burning throughout the entire ceremony but there was a part called the smoking ceremony, where important people involved in the path to reconciliation stepped into the smoke’s path and enveloped themselves in the smoke. I found this extremely moving and respectful. Every now and then, the wind would blow the smoke in our direction and as it wafted over us, you would smell a gum leaf scent. The entire excursion was very interesting and educational but my favourite part was the smoking ceremony.
— Clara F (Year 7 Silver)

I learnt about the importance of Aboriginal culture and how significant and special it really is. I learnt about things I’ve taken for granted, and how we have this land and peace because of the brave sacrifices by Indigenous soldiers, who were not properly appreciated back at the time since they had to hide their true culture to keep our country safe. 
— Annabel S (Year 8 Silver)

The day at the Shrine was incredible. It was moving, inspirational and very educational. The smoke created a very spiritual atmosphere allowing all members of the ceremony to feel connected to the land it was held on. It was very respectful and held a significant importance on recognising the wrong and injustice that the Indigenous people have gone through and the hope for a better nation. I felt extremely honoured to have been given the chance to attend this event.
— Sienna V (Year 7 Silver)

The day at the Shrine was so much fun! It was amazing to see the Indigenous soldiers get the recognition they deserve after a long time of not recognising and appreciating their service and what they’ve done for this country. The smoking ceremony had to be one of my favourite parts of the day as it really felt like it connected us all together as one community, honouring the soldiers. I am honoured that I got this opportunity and got to do my part by respecting, appreciating and recognising the efforts made by the Indigenous soldiers.
— Olivia M (Year 8 Orange)

From Mr Michael Dale:

I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the staff and students who contributed to and supported National Reconciliation Week. Your dedication, efforts, and commitment have played an essential role in fostering understanding, respect, and unity within our communities. Together, we have taken significant steps towards healing and building stronger relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Thank you for standing beside us and working towards a future of reconciliation, justice, and equality for all.