As a Catholic school in the Edmund Rice tradition Clontarf Aboriginal College is a place of learning and understanding that respects Aboriginal culture and spirituality and encourages students to reach their dreams.
In a first for EREA, Identity Leaders and colleagues had the pleasure of being hosted by Clontarf Aboriginal College for the Term 1 Identity Teams meeting for schools in Western Australia that are a part of the EREA community. Those who attended were gifted with the recognition of how the Clontarf community are enriched by their commitment and advocacy for Aboriginal Culture and how such a focus is brought into dialogue with the Edmund Rice Tradition. To encounter the story of Clontarf Aboriginal College brings you to a recognition of its vibrant and rich history. The essence of their unique history is revealed in the following extract from the College website:
Hello and Welcome to Whadjuk Nyoongar country. Nidja Whadjuk Nyoongar Boodjar Noonook Nyininy. This is Whadjuk Nyoongar country you are sitting in. Clontarf Aboriginal College is situated in Whadjuk Nyoongar Boodjar.
Nyoongar* is the general name for Aboriginal people in the south-west of Western Australia. Of the fourteen Nyoongar language groups, the people who live in the Perth region are known as the Whadjuk people.
The Whadjuk land south of the Swan River and west of the Canning River to the coast is known as Bilya (Beeliar). The land across the Canning River to the Helena River is Beeloo land. The Canning River is the border between these two great Whadjuk clans.
It is here at the Canning River that the Youran (bobtail lizard) meets the Nyingarn (echidna). The Youran is the totem animal for the Bilya people; and the Nyingarn is the totem animal for the Beeloo people.
This area once had an abundance of wildfowl, especially Moornyi Koolyak (black swans) and ducks – traditional Nyoongar food. It was an important camping ground where Whadjuk people foraged, fished and hunted. It was here that they gathered to camp under their Mia Mias (shelters).
After their arrival in 1829, Wadjela (white) colonists quickly took over the Whadjuk Nyoongar Boodjar and used it for farming.
The Whadjuk people fought a losing battle against this loss of their land. In this early conflict, the Whadjuk people were led by Midgegooroo and his famous son Yagan.
This was a sad story of dispossession which finally left the Whadjuk people without the land on which they depended so much – spiritually as well as materially.
The Whadjup Nyoongar Boodjar (Clontarf) site remains of important spiritual and cultural significance for contemporary Whadjuk people.
Clontarf Aboriginal College has taken the Moornyi Koolyak – the black swan rising in flight – as the central image in its crest.
This powerful image is a direct link back to the traditional Whadjuk Nyoongar Boodjar on which the College now stands.
We are truly blessed and proud to have Clontarf Aboriginal College as an Associate School of EREA.To see and hear the young people of the College, share their place, click here.