"Environment", "Respect", "Learning", "Others" and "Self" are the values that inspire and guide the students at St Joseph’s Catholic High School, Albion Park, so it’s fitting they now adorn poles in a new indigenous garden at the school’s entrance: ‘Nuggong (Beautiful Place)’.
This week, indigenous and non-indigenous students joined with teachers, Aboriginal Education Assistants and Catholic Education Office staff for a small ceremony to celebrate the completion of the garden installation.
The design of the garden was guided by artist Uncle Kevin Butler, who spoke about the meaning behind the artwork and the difficulties of bringing the garden to life.
“It was quite a long journey with the onslaught of thick bushfire smoke and COVID-19,” he said. “However, with the assistance of our students—both indigenous and non-indigenous—we have finally completed the project. This wonderful installation will stand tall and proud here at St Joseph’s.”
The Director of Schools in the Diocese of Wollongong, Peter Hill, challenged students to reflect on the garden’s messages and allow the installation to ground their thinking each and every day.
“The quality of our efforts is defined by the quality of the questions we ask,” he said. “I hope this installation, with its words and beautiful images, inspires your imagination and the questions you ask—particularly about the relationship we have with the earth, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and with each other—in this, the year of St Joseph.”
The ‘Nuggong’ installation was made possible by a Local Schools Community Fund grant, with Member for Whitlam, Stephen Jones MP, congratulating the students and school community on the day.