Catherine McAuley Explores Indigenous Culture

Catherine McAuley welcomed over three days at the end of Term 2 the team from Wandana to help the school community explore Indigenous culture.

Wandana is a community based project that aims to foster respect for all through an Indigenous Art project. The project aims to leave a legacy of the community today while recognising those who have come before us to lay the foundations.

The three days began with a smoking ceremony on Wednesday, 27th June 2018, with the whole school gathering to be apart of this ancient custom among Indigenous Australians and which was led by Catherine McAuley’s own Indigenous students.

Students and staff then participated in talks, meditations and art activities with the theme of NAIDOC Week 2018 ‘Because of Her, We Can’ a focus. The culmination of the three days was a school painting that all staff and students had contributed to and which was presented to the school community at a special assembly at the conclusion of the week.

The Catherine McAuley Westmead school painting is a contemporary Aboriginal painting that captures the true essence of the school community. At the centre can be seen the red concentric circles to represent a meeting place of the local Darug people. The white dots around the meeting place are the ancestors of the past.

The Catholic cross can be seen flowing through the school community and inside the meetings place is a house to depict the ‘House of Mercy’ in Dublin, Ireland. This meeting place also represents the school and the large U shapes in different colours represent the Aboriginal Elders of the local area. The coloured bands show the seven school Houses and running through the painting is the Parramatta River to represent the Burramattagal Aboriginal people, a clan of Dharug who occupied the area for over 60,000 years.

Below the meeting place is the Aboriginal coolamon, a woman’s wooden bowl of many purposes and which pays homage to Aboriginal women with the 2018 NAIDOC theme ‘Because of her, we can’. The many colourful dots radiating through the school House areas are the students, teachers and families of the school and the handprint of the School Principal represents the love and guidance by the Principal over the entire school community.

Students commented that they found the Wandana Project worthwhile in assisting them in understanding Aboriginal culture and the symbolism found in the art and language of the local Darug people. “I liked how the school artwork connected us as a community with the dots representing all the members within our school community", said Aiswaryalakshmi Rajeev, Year 12. “The Wandana Project allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of Aboriginal culture as I was granted the opportunity to explore various artefacts, learn about different signs and symbols and participate in meditation to help enrich my knowledge”, said Chantelle Cortez Maglalang, Year 11.

The school will hang the Catherine McAuley school painting on the school grounds for all to see and enjoy.

Wadana Project

Wandana Project 

Wandana Project