Welcome to Country a 'moving experience' for Oakhill College student

YEAR 11 student Harrison Goddard performed Oakhill College's first Welcome to Country recently.

On February 4, Harrison, who is of Aboriginal descent, opened the college's Dedication Mass and performed the ceremony.

It respectfully acknowledges the traditional Aboriginal custodians of the area and their continuing connection to country.

Harrison's family descend from the Darug people and the Murrawarri of north western NSW.

This is the first time the college has had a Darug custodian approved by an elder to give a Welcome to Country.

It can only be performed by a person of Aboriginal heritage.

"The welcome was a very moving experience and inspired the college community to learn more about Aboriginal culture," teacher Karen Isaacs said.

"In Darug language Harrison also reminded the community of the sacredness of our land."

Mrs Isaacs, who is the school's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander facilitator, said elders uncle Wes Marne, aunty Jacinta Tobin, educator Chris Tobin and Lyn Leerson from Reconciliation for Western Sydney had helped teach the college community about the Darug culture.

Principal Brother Peter Ryan said Harrison "spoke with deep authenticity and understanding, calling us to be dedicated custodians of Mother Earth and of each other".

Patrick Lucarnus is a student of Oakhill College and this was written as part of the Adopt a School program with the Hills News.

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