BRIGHTON Primary School celebrated a significant first recently with an official flag-raising ceremony of the Aboriginal flag in its school grounds.
The school, whose population comprises approximately 12 per cent of students of Aboriginal descent, is believed to be the first state primary school to have the Aboriginal flag flying in its grounds.
Principal Tony Fagan said the day was a very important and proud one for the school as it recognised 50,000 years of Aboriginal custodianship of the land in Brighton.
A school assembly was held with special guests, the Mayor of Brighton, Dianne Cook who has voluntarily developed a special Aboriginal culture connections program at the school (see story this issue), and Aunty Vera an elder who is also helping with Aboriginal education at the school. Sally Sari, who is Brighton Primary school’s music teacher is also integrally involved in the Aboriginal education program. Aunty Vera gave the welcome to country at the start of the official proceedings.
Cr Foster addressed the assembly and reminded the children that the Aboriginal flag was an important symbol of reconciliation. He said that back in 1995, Patrick Dodson, who is now an adviser to Government, industry and the community on Aboriginal issues, spoke of a similar flag raising ceremony in Orange where the flag was raised to commemorate NAIDOC week. Mr Dodson said it was a unifying event in Australia in 1995 with a very symbolic message.
“The event said that Aboriginal people are a valued and unique part of the fabric of our nation,” Mr Dodson said in 1995.
Cr Foster said the school should be very proud of its cultural diversity and the work that was being undertaken within the school to educate both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students of Aboriginal history and culture and the importance of diversity in the school community.