Indigenous Voice and Perspective Initiative – House Name Update

During 2020, Bourke Street Public School engaged in a community project to rename our school houses in Sydney Aboriginal Language (as documented by Aunty Jakelin Troy).

The names below were officially launched in NAIDOC Week in November 2020. They were developed through a series of ‘Indigenous Voice’ workshops involving Indigenous students and their families, and led by educator and local Aboriginal Elder Uncle Jimmy Smith. Four new names were collaboratively devised:

Mulgu meaning Black Swan (formerly Macquarie)
Burra meaning Eel (formerly Hunter)
Ngura meaning Country (formerly Wentworth)
Gadi meaning Grass Tree (formerly Phillip)

The names, in Dharug language, represent a ‘connection to Country’, incorporating native plants, animals, land and water, and present opportunities for new classroom learning linked with the NSW Curriculum. During these workshops, the group also collaboratively developed and updated Acknowledgement of Country, which will also be first shared during NAIDOC Week. It will be used at our school assemblies and events and will be displayed at the entrances to our school.

In the classroom, all students have been engaging in units of work developed under the leadership of Ms Carpenter and involving a team of teachers and stakeholders. Students have been learning about the origins, meanings, language and significance of these new house names. In addition, students have been working on developing logos for each house and we are enormously fortunate to have the collaboration of four high-profile Indigenous artists in this logo design project: Thea Perkins, Blak Douglas, Tony Albert and Keg de Souza. Students’ artworks will be shared with these artists who will use them as guiding inspiration for the development of the four house logos for our new Houses which will be displayed prominently throughout the school and at carnivals.

The Indigenous Voice and Perspectives Initiatives will now continue with further projects and learnings to continue across the school.

A very big thank you to Uncle Jimmy Smith, Sophia Marinos (parent of Poppy 2T), Samantha Watson-Wood (parent of Delphi KL and Indy 3/4S), Ms Carpenter and BSPS Aboriginal Education Team, and to all of our Bourke Street students, who together are leading the way to ensure we value and recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage as a proud part of a shared national identity.

Always Was, Always Will Be

Story contributed by Georgina Loveridge from Bourke Street Public School. Published in 2020.