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New garden celebrates culture

Wilmot Rd Primary School has unveiled its new Koori Garden, celebrating their indigenous community members. The First Nations Koori curriculum co-ordinator Theresa Holland said we needed to recognise indigenous culture in every way. ”And with the Koori garden the whole school can participate in showing support,“ she said. ’The space wasn’t being utilised or recognised (before).“We thought it would be nice to make it an area which would raise awareness for the Aboriginal people in our community.“ During their NAIDOC Week celebrations, Ms Holland said the school had indigenous students talk over the speaker each morning, telling stories about themselves and their culture. ’We thought a nice way to culminate the week would be to open a new Koori Garden for the students,“ she said. At the opening, principal Jenny Manuel said the school was proud. About 300 students and staff gathered on the asphalt to hear the school captains give a Welcome to Country to kick off the ceremony. Uncle Colin Jnr performed a smoking ceremony for the kids. He warned that evil children could not participate, which was met with endless giggles. The space is full of native plants the children are encouraged to nurture, care for and watch grow. A sign in the garden reads, ‘Welcome Friends’ in a traditional indigenous language of the Shepparton area. ’We hope it will be a peaceful place where the kids can learn more about Aboriginal culture,‘ Ms Holland said. Natalie Campbell is an RMIT journalism student on work placement at The News.

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