High school’s fire pit will keep Aboriginal culture burning strong
That's the hope, anyway, after two year 9 students' handiwork was revealed during NAIDOC Week.
This story was originally published behind Murray Bridge News’ paywall. Paywalled stories are unlocked four weeks after publication. Can’t wait that long? Subscribe here.
Like an Olympic flame in a cauldron, hopes are high that the lighting of a fire pit at Murray Bridge High School will symbolise something more.
Ngarrindjeri elder Aunty Dorothy Wilson did the honours at the end of term three, bending over the steel hexagon in the school’s reconciliation garden, lighter in hand, despite the breeze’s best efforts to stop her.
Soon flames were crackling away, warming hands, feet and hearts.
The fire pit was made by two year 9 metalwork students, John Brucshaw and Rayn Smith, and installed in time for NAIDOC Week.
Principal Ruth Mussger said she loved the symbolism of its panels, which featured Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander emblems and the school logo.
“The conversations we have around what’s important to us as people at Murray Bridge High School, as a community, how we foster a sense of belonging for our kids – this is something we have been working on for years now,” she said.
“The wisdom of the (Aboriginal) elders is important.
“We want to make sure that stays strong.”
In time the fire pit will be moved closer to the middle school building currently under construction, where the school’s new Aboriginal education rooms will be.
Murray Bridge High recently adopted a Ngarrindjeri motto – palai namawi, “the future is ours” – and added Aboriginal decorative elements to its uniform as part of a rebrand.