Waikarra Ba-gurrk (Courageous Woman)

In 2022, our First Nations students participated in a cultural workshop with Jenna Oldaker, Wadawurrung Traditional Owner and Contemporary Indigenous Artist. The workshop focused primarily on art, culture, identity and storytelling with students having the opportunity to create their own artwork and contribute to the creation of a commission artwork for the College. The artwork celebrates beautiful Wadawurrung Country and the coming together of our Catholic Tradition, Mercy Charism and our First Nations Community.

View SHC's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

Acknowledgement Statement

We acknowledge in particular the Wadawurrung People past and present, who traditionally sustained the life, spirit and promise of this Land on which our College now stands.

We are committed to being in respectful dialogue with First Nations peoples to foster a diverse and inclusive school community that aims for unity and fairness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and all Australians in an act of solidarity. We value and nurture authentic relationships celebrating the rich and unique gifts that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures bring to our shared national identity. We acknowledge the past, present, and enduring injustices of First Nations peoples. With an openness to make change, we listen to the stories and true histories of Australia, journeying towards justice and reconciliation.

We thereby commit ourselves to acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ histories and cultures in ways to deepen our appreciation and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Waikarra Ba-gurrk (Courageous Woman)

Artwork Name: Waikarra Ba-gurrk (Courageous Woman)

Artist: Jenna Oldaker

Media: Acrylic on Canvas

Dimensions: 48 x 60 inch

Artwork designed in collaboration with the First Nations students at Sacred Heart College, Geelong

Bridie O’Malley, Vincenza Bonanno, Josephine Bonanno, Keely Kinsey, Paige Firth, Aisling Browne, Bethany Rodaughan, Elleischa Sizer, Kyeesha Sperling and Georgie Rodaughan.

Artwork Description: This artwork is a celebration of the beautiful Wadawurrung Country we are lucky enough to call home. It is the coming together of our Catholic Tradition, Mercy Charism, and our First Nations Community.

The centre of the artwork illustrates a meeting place, a place where we can all come together as one to yarn and share stories. Within the symbol for meeting place is the symbol for woman, illustrating the courage of all women and how Sacred Heart College is committed to the values of the founding Sisters of Mercy and all that they represent.

To the left of centre, is the Mercy Cross symbol, as we say thank you to the Sisters of Mercy for their kindness and service, and further to the left is the symbol of four women sitting together. To the right of centre is again the symbol of four women sitting together, and then further to the left is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, represented in the Sacred Heart crest and the history of the Sisters of Mercy and Sacred Heart College. All of these elements are connected to one another, symbolising our connection as a community to one another and also to the land around us. The classic U shapes symbolise people, whilst the concentric circles and lines illustrate journey paths. Underneath is the beautiful Wadawurrung sun, slowly beginning to rise as it provides us with warmth, healing and life.

Within the centre of the artwork is Bundjil the Eagle (the spirit creator of Wadawurrung), Waa the crow, Parrwang the magpie, and an echidna (mon.garrk). All of which are native to Wadawurrung Country and are significant to Geelong (Djilang) and our land and water country. The dove flying high over Wadawurrung Country is a symbol of the Dove of Peace and the Holy Spirit, and represents peace, freedom and love within the Catholic faith. Held in the beak of the dove is a piece of wattle symbolising the native plants of our land country.

Around the outside are the different layers that make Wadawurrung Country beautiful – the green eucalyptus leaves representing our land country, and through the middle runs the blue of our water country including our coastal country, rivers and wetlands. The boomerangs symbolise endurance, justice and strength.

Wadawurrung Country is home to thousands of different species of flora and fauna. This includes the sunny yellow flowers of the Yam Daisy (Murnong) which are illustrated at the top and bottom of the artwork. These flowers once covered the lands of Wadawurrung people and were a staple part of their diet. The large arches at the top and bottom are a representation of the You Yangs (Wadawurrung for Big Hill), one of the most significant cultural homes for Wadawurrung people.

As we travel across Wadawurrung Country from left to right, we can also see the classic U shapes symbolising people and children within the community, emu tracks, and echidna tracks. Footprints move through the centre of the artwork, symbolising walking together as one, as we move across Wadawurrung country, creating community, compassion and spirit.

Nyatne (Thank You)

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