This program provides Indigenous students from both urban and rural communities with the opportunity of an outstanding education in an environment that is supported by appropriate pastoral care. Parents, carers and families of Indigenous students are warmly welcomed into the College community and are encouraged to actively engage with the school. Liaison with students and families is facilitated through a number of structures including the roles of the Indigenous Coordinator and the Director of Mission.
Indigenous students actively contribute to all facets of life at St Joseph’s and regularly take part in community events such as the National Indigenous Leadership Program, local council Reconciliation Day events and NAIDOC Week celebrations.
The St Joseph’s College Indigenous Program (SJCIP) has existed in many forms for many decades but with the same pursuit; to strive to lead the way in Reconciliation in Australia through education.
As the College works shoulder to shoulder with their families and communities, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students of the SJCIP are challenged to be leaders and ambassadors in Reconciliation through continued dialogue the sharing and celebration of their rich and diverse culture and heritage.
Reconciliation Action Plan
St Joseph’s College believes that reconciliation can only become a reality when there is a deep appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to celebrate these cultures and their place as part of our national heritage. Our vision for reconciliation is one of working together to listen and learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in order to build mutually respectful relationships whilst working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to support their needs and aspirations.
We are deeply committed to being a culturally welcoming and safe school, with organisational policies and procedures and recruitment and procurement practices that reflect this commitment. We strive to promote reconciliation internally and throughout the community. This is captured in our Reconciliation Action Plan, which the College is pleased to present below.
St Joseph's College acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Wallumedegal Nation and all nations across this sacred and ancient land. We acknowledge the traditions, histories and languages connected to the oldest living cultures throughout the world. We acknowledge First Nations peoples’ ongoing connection to and custodianship of the lands, waterways and skies and pay our respects to the Elders that came before us. We look forward to a time when the whole country will walk on together, as we do here at Joeys.
ABOUT THE ARTWORK
Birrang Yindyamarra Winhanganha, journey to another place far away to learn and grow to be respectful, be gentle, be polite, show honour and do slowly, know, think and remember.
At the heart of St Joseph’s College, this Indigenous artwork adorns the wall, speaking to the integration of culture and identity. This captivating piece, crafted in a collaboration between Indigenous Joe-Boys and Kylie Tarleton, an Indigenous mother from Orange, blends songlines, totems and individual journeys, serving as a powerful symbol of reconciliation.
The artwork is a testament to the cultural education that preceded its creation. Each element within it carries deep significance. Encircling the outer edge are the totems, symbolic representations of animals that hold a special connection for each boy. These totems are more than mere symbols; they represent a sacred duty as protectors of these animals, ensuring their preservation.
The handprints alongside the totems carry their unique stories, embodying the personal connection each student has with their totem. This connection is not only spiritual but also practical, as it underlies a commitment to not consume or harm the animals. These totems are seen as part of one’s being, entwined with the individual’s identity.
At the artwork’s centre lies the snapper fish, symbolising the Wallumedegal land upon which Joeys stands. This image signifies the convergence of Indigenous culture with the College, representing the interconnectedness of Joeys with the land upon which we live, learn and grow.
The intricate lines, dots and footprints within the artwork serve to depict the diverse journeys of Joeys’ Indigenous students. The artwork’s symbolism echoes the notion that everyone’s path to, through and beyond Joeys is uniquely their own. It beautifully illustrates the idea that individual journeys, much like the songlines of Indigenous culture, form our collective identity.
This artwork is a testament to the College’s commitment to reconciliation. It stands for cultural appreciation and unity, honouring the richness of Indigenous culture while embracing the individual stories and journeys that shape the Joeys’ community. With each brushstroke and symbol, this artwork reminds us that we are all connected and that, together, we walk the path of reconciliation.
The boys of the SJC Indigenous Program cherish the tangible spirit of Reconciliation that is alive at Joeys and take great pride in knowing that as a College, we are able to provide an example for the wider community.
The Smith Family IYLP
The Indigenous Youth Leadership Program (IYLP) supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students living in remote or very remote areas of Australia to attend high performing secondary school (government and non–government, day and boarding) and / or university to complete Year 12 and / or an undergraduate degree.
The program contributes to the development of skills in leadership in a range of ways. Students are supported in their leadership journeys on personal, academic and professional levels. St Joseph’s College continues to work in close partnership with The Smith Family who currently support 28 of the Colleges Indigenous students.