Aboriginal Education

At St Joseph’s the Wonnarua people are acknowledged as the traditional owners of the lands on which is built. We strongly appreciate the connection Aboriginal people have with the land and acknowledge the sacrifices made by many Aboriginal men, women and children in times gone by. We recognise that this land is, was, and always will be Wonnarua Country.

St Joseph’s College has a proud and strong community of approximately seventy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Personalised and ongoing support is facilitated by our full-time Aboriginal Education Teacher to encourage our students to maximise their potential for all educational, sporting and cultural endeavours encountered here at St Joseph’s College. Each year there are many programs implemented to provide opportunities for students and staff to broaden and deepen knowledge, understanding and pride within Aboriginal culture.

Yalawa Centre

The Yalawa Centre was opened in 2020. It is an educational & cultural hub that brings together St Joseph’s College Aboriginal & Torres Strait students, from all year groups and differing Aboriginal nations from across Australia. Yalawa, meaning ‘stay and rest’, provides a dedicated space, where students can gather, seek support for their academic studies and wellbeing, discuss career pathway options, engage in cultural awareness activities and deepen their understanding of identity, kinship and country.

The Yalawa Centre is a place where students can continue to build their capacity; a place where they can gather as one, and gain the confidence to be people of strength, faith and hope. Originally part of the Tenison Education Centre, that was founded by the Sisters of St Joseph, the Yalawa Centre draws our contemporary Josephite community together. The building and concept evokes the legacy of care for Indigenous people and country, that the Sisters of St Joseph Lochinvar have nurtured and lived. This is a legacy that we, the students and staff of St Joseph’s College will strive to uphold and deepen as we strive to meet the needs of 21st Century learners and families.

Aboriginal Education is supported at St Joseph’s College in the following ways:

Academic Focus:

  • A designated Aboriginal Education learning space that provides opportunities for students to complete work and for the implementation of support measures
  • Mentoring and tutoring of Aboriginal student
  • Support for Aboriginal students which involves support with completing assessment tasks, in class support and one on one support
  • Involvement in the transition process for Aboriginal students from our feeder schools
  • Liaising with our Careers Adviser and other external and internal agencies to maximise opportunities for further educational options, employment opportunities and trade related experiences
  • Monitor and support student progress to achieve educational goals
  • Development and implementation of Personalised Learning Plans
  • Encouragement to pursue unique programs targeted at Aboriginal students in areas of their interests and/or educational goals
  • Liaising with University Aboriginal Units to maximise opportunities for further study. For example, utilising programs at The Wollotuka Institute at UON
  • Academic achievement can be affected by student wellbeing. Wellbeing is monitored with options for support when needed
  • Aboriginal perspectives embedded in subject areas to enable effective connection with learning experiences.

Cultural Focus:

  • Opportunity to be involved in the St Joseph’s College Junior Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG)
  • Commitment to our involvement within the local Aboriginal Community through AECG meetings
  • Whole school celebrations for significant Aboriginal events. For example, NAIDOC week comprised of a day of celebration through liturgy, art and traditional cooking
  • Welcoming members of our Aboriginal community into our school to share their stories to deepen our understanding of events of the past
  • Acknowledgement of Country/ Welcome to Country at all school assemblies and events
  • Smoking ceremonies for significant events & openings
  • Aboriginal Dance Group
  • Local sporting opportunities promoting skill development and reconciliation awareness
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Collaboration with our feeder schools to share culture within our Diocese
  • Excursions to sacred areas for cultural immersions
  • Annual Aboriginal Performance to provide some cultural understanding for all Year 7 students.