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MOODJI Indigenous Garden Space Opening at Reservoir High

Reservoir High School celebrated NAIDOC 2021 in a special way. The students created an Indigenous Garden Space called “MOODJI” A Place to Gather, To Learn and to Strengthen Friendship. RHS has around 50 Aboriginal and Torres Strait students who take part in the school’s curriculum...whether its sport, art, creative writing or across the many streams of education on offer. This High school is all about inclusion, engagement, and empowerment. These students are from all walks of life and different country, yet that cultural connection brings them all together.

A large gathering of students, parents, teachers, elders and community businesses including organisations there to witness the unveiling of this cultural gathering space. Many hands worked hard over many weeks to have this dream turn into a reality.

School Principal Andrew McNeil states, “Our school stands by its strong values of respect, academic excellence, diversity and success” and this was on show today. Uncle Dave Wandin performed the Welcome to Country.

Uncle Dave Wandin is an elder of the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Council, also the chairperson of Wandoon Estate Aboriginal Corporation. I grew up in Melbourne, went to the all-boys tech school, left that when I was 15 and I’ve worked in contemporary industry all of my life, but in 1996 I had the opportunity to come back here to my home country and I was actually moving my dad back up here to retire. He then took me around and showed me the things that he did as a child and talked about the stories of what his ancestors taught him and I absolutely fell in love with the place.

Cathy Austin Gunditjimara from the Department of Premier and Cabinet Aboriginal Community Development Broker First Peoples-State Relations Group Northern Metro Local Aboriginal Network $2000. Bunnings Stores, The University of Melbourne. Zena Cumpston an Indigenous Plant Expert has given permission for us to use her Indigenous Plant Guide. The guide has labels that we can print off that explain the plant name, where it is found and how it was traditionally used. Impacted by remote learning. Koorin Edwards (ex student of RHS) met with the students and had planned on developing an artistic component of the garden. This was impacted by Covid and remote learning Melbourne Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation (MAYSAR) were willing to support the weekly facilitation of the design process with students. Oisin Griffiths, City of Darebin, was only able to attend once due to covid. La Trobe University for supplying 75 Indigenous tubelings. It was a tough term interrupted by remote learning but they got the project over the line.

3KND “On Track” program hosted by Hayley McAdam did an outside broadcast live across the KoolNDeadly network supporting the students who now have a gathering space within the school grounds. 3KND supporting community and NAIDOC 2021.


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