Joeys is proud of the contribution our many Indigenous students make to College life. The great respect that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous boys in the College is a shining example to the wider world of how different cultures can live together.

NAIDOC Week is always eagerly anticipated at College, and provides us with a celebratory lens to view our rich Aboriginal history and traditions, to look back with some awe at the history of the land that we all walk on and to look forward with hope as we continue to learn and celebrate from and with a people of rich culture. 

Here at Joeys, the history, culture and achievements of Australia’s first peoples are celebrated and honoured in and out of class. It is an opportunity for Indigenous students to present their heritage to their schoolmates and engage in conversation about the world they share.

Joeys Indigenous Coordinator Ed Morgan says NAIDOC Week serves as a reminder that in Australia we are proudly connected to one of the oldest cultures on the planet.

“NAIDOC is a celebration of our amazing and diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community within Joeys. It is a representation of our continued pursuit of reconciliation through genuine action.”

Due to Covid, this year’s NAIDOC was shifted from its regular July date to November 8-15. This meant that for the first time Indigenous students were able to participate in activities during the school term. 

The NAIDOC presentation was the centrepiece of the recent Headmasters Assembly in Brother Emilian Hall. College Indigenous boys performed two traditional dances: the first a celebratory piece; the second a hunting re-enactment that invoked the protective spirits of ancestors. 

This year’s NAIDOC Theme was “Always was, always will be”, emphasising the enduring 60,000-year link between Indigenous peoples and country. Isaiah AhSee is a Year 11 Wiradjuri boy from Wellington. He addressed the assembly and spoke about oral traditions, and the Dreamtime stories that had been handed down to him by aunties, uncles and elders. He said the best way to further reconciliation was to continue to open up the channels of conversation.

“Joeys has allowed me to dialogue with you; to share, talk about and celebrate my culture and heritage. We value our ability to walk on with you all together.”

The ease and respect with which Joeys boys from different backgrounds relate to each other was articulated by Bernard Lund, a non-Indigenous student. 

“Whether it’s in the classroom, on the sporting field or just touch footy with mates, the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous boys is natural,” the Year 11 boy said. “I’m only now starting to properly realise how lucky we are to have such a natural way of interacting between us.”

He also said he felt privileged to have Aboriginal friends and to have learnt “the lessons and stories of spirituality they’ve taught me”.

Isaiah and Bernard’s wise and mature words are an example to us all and encapsulate the spirit of tolerance and harmony that continues to be a feature of St Joseph’s College. 

Above: Isaiah AhSee Year 11, Sebastian Darney Year 10, Mason Peckham Year 11 and Kye Harbrow Year 10.