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Edmund Rice College, Bindoon, WA

Our Education / Edmund Rice College, Bindoon, WA
Edmund Rice College, Bindoon, emerged in 2018 - a new name, a new crest, a new curriculum focus and a new chapter to write.

Name changes aren’t new to Bindoon. In its 80 year history its name has changed four times. Renaming a local institution is not done lightly. Bindoon is a fixture in Western Australian farming circles - so a new name means substantial change is afoot. Edmund Rice College emerged in 2018 - a new name, a new crest, a new curriculum focus and a new chapter to write.

Adapting to changed circumstances is inevitable if any school is to survive and flourish. Demographic change can’t be ignored, nor can changing parental expectations. It is also no secret that Bindoon was particularly marked by mistreatment of children in earlier decades. The College leadership has shone a bright light on these dark episodes.

“Our history has many chapters,” shares Principal Marie Barton, “there is much to celebrate. However, we must never forget the mistakes of the past and the damage that was caused to innocent children to their lives and those of their families, by religious and past staff of this College.”

The College is built on land provided by the Musk Family in 1936. The condition on which the donation was made – that the Christian Brothers would build a farm school. This they did and over the next 80 years the college was progressively St Joseph’s Farm and Trade School (until 1965); Keaney College (until 1994) and Catholic Agricultural College until 2017. All this time it was known colloquially as Bindoon.

From its inception, it has offered alternative pathways to education – this will continue under its new name Edmund Rice College.

Marie Barton explains the significance of the name change:

“We believe this name captures the work which is at the heart of the Edmund Rice charism and core to our work here. The following are some of the reasons that are central to this recommendation:

  • We have a profound belief in the equal dignity of persons
  • We are a compassionate, nurturing, authentic community
  • We honour a caring family spirit
  • We have a solidarity with the unimportant, the poor and neglected
  • We have a responsibility to serve, to give something back
  • We believe that liberation underpinning the provision of education
  • We assume responsibility for the provision of a relevant, quality and critical education.”

The new College crest also embodies the charism, the distinctive environment and the original peoples of the region:

  • The cross is at the centre of everything we do.
  • The hammer and spanner reference the school’s automotive, engineering and building studies, as well as its strength.
  • The sheep represents agriculture and loyalty and is also a reference to the Good Shepherd.
  • The book symbolises both the Bible and the College as a place of learning.
  • The Aboriginal symbol stands for unity, meeting and togetherness.
  • Olive leaves refer to our olive groves
  • Our new motto is Stronger Together.

At Bindoon’s 2017 Presentation Night, Ray Paxton, EREA's National Director of Identity and Liberating Education noted:

”Each time I drive through the gates, past the Stations of the Cross, down the drive towards your beautiful buildings and walk up these steps we stand on now – it has been a journey to a unique, close and energetic community which demonstrates the Touchstones of Edmund Rice Education as well, if not better than, any other Edmund Rice School in the country.”

In applauding the school’s determination to write its own future, he concluded:

“Around 1802, Edmund Rice began his work on the docks of Waterford in Ireland. In 1936, Mrs Catherine Musk donated her farm to the Brothers do build a farm school. In another era, students physically built this school. It is now the task of current and future students to continue to build this great community and influence its legacy, in a new era, an era that will be known as Edmund Rice College Bindoon. In embracing this new identity, you will build on the strong foundations, resolve and resilience of all who have lived and learned here – in the name of Edmund, in the name of Jesus.”