June 6, 2024

Reconciliation Week is a significant event on the Hale School calendar, bringing students and the community together to learn, recognise, and celebrate Indigenous culture. This week is dedicated to acknowledging the Whadjuk Noongar people, the traditional custodians of the land on which Hale School stands and serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of understanding our shared histories, cultures, and achievements.

This year, the PSA Indigenous Round, which traditionally kicks off Reconciliation Week and gathers the Hale community in large numbers, had a special addition. In a PSA first, an inclusive Indigenous ceremony was held before the games began, involving 1st team players from all six codes. The ceremony, held on Craig Oval, featured a Welcome to Country and a Smoking Ceremony, setting a respectful tone before the matches against Scotch College.

During the week a special assembly was held in Memorial Hall, where several Indigenous students had the opportunity to speak and perform. Year 11 student Xavier shared the meaning of reconciliation and the theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week: “Now More Than Ever,” emphasising the critical need for ongoing reconciliation efforts. Fellow Year 11 student, Jock, performed on guitar alongside our Indigenous Student Coordinator, Mr Rhys Bedford. The students also enjoyed a moving performance by the Hale School Indigenous dancers.

Our Junior School students engaged in a variety of activities designed to broaden their understanding of Indigenous traditions and history. The boys learnt about the Dreamtime, had a Noongar language lesson, and enjoyed some dance sessions. Despite the inclement weather forcing some outdoor activities to be postponed, the students greatly enjoyed getting to know a bit more about Indigenous culture and hearing from Rhys and past Hale student and Indigenous scholar, Indie Oakley (2023), who popped in to chat with the boys.

Some wet weather meant the rest of the week’s activities were postponed for a few days, so our Reconciliation Week was closer to two weeks! The Year 7 boys enjoyed an array of immersive activities. They cooked kangaroo tail, crafted Indigenous bracelets, made a fire pit, and experimented with traditional face painting. These hands-on activities were not only educational but a fun way to wrap up a week (and a bit!) learning about reconciliation and why, now more than ever, it is so important.

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