Lake Cathie Public School has incorporated the Gathang language into its sports names and flags.
The flags designs were created by artist Jamie Donovan while the wording was provided by Aunty Rhonda Radley and Aunty Rose Lowe from the Gathang Language Group.
The school’s leader aboriginal education, Kelly Jesser, said work on the project had taken several months to complete.
”We have been working closely with Aunty Rhonda Radley and the Gathang language group to develop a set of highly appropriate names for our teams from the local language of the Birpai people,” Ms Jesser said.
“This process has required ongoing consultation with elders of the local Aboriginal community and we feel honoured to embrace the language of the traditional owners of the land on which we grow and learn together.
“This is a testament to our genuine commitment to developing sustainable cultural practices at Lake Cathie Public School.”
The school has created the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Initiatives Group (ATSIIG) which meets throughout the school year.
Ms Jesser said there had been much to learn from the culture and customs of the traditional owners of this land; it is a starting to point to understanding the history of our nation and genuine reconciliation begins with educating young minds.
“Aboriginal culture reminds us of the importance of preserving the land and being respectful of all living things, such important lessons for us all. In our rapidly changing world we sometimes lose sight of the raw, natural beauty of our surrounds,” she said.
After a selection process conducted earlier this year, Jamie Donovan was the Birpai artist selected to produce the artworks on the sporting flags and these will now take pride of place in our school hall, and taken out for carnivals.
The flags incorporate an element (for example earth) and associated totem (for example the kangaroo) for each of the teams and Jamie’s careful consideration of designs is evident in the aesthetically pleasing final product.
“The release of the flags at our recent presentation day marked the culmination of over 12 months of careful planning and lengthy consultation with local Aboriginal elders and community members,” Ms Jesser said.
“Aunty Rhonda has been the cornerstone of this unique project for us at Lake Cathie Public School and our school community feel very privileged to have the opportunity to learn and grow together with the Aboriginal community.”
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams and department of education’s Wayne Anderson also attended the unveiling.