National Reconciliation Week concluded yesterday and, despite not being present on site for the week, I was proud to see the Prefect Body and other student leaders acknowledging the occasion and promoting activities to advance reconciliation amongst their peers. The Faith and Worship Prefect conducted Chapel in Senior School with a focus on understanding more about indigenous spirituality, the Social Justice Committee led lunchtime workshops focussed on personal responses to reconciliation and the School Captain shared key historical facts about the advancement of indigenous rights in her student led assemblies via zoom. The Prefect theme for Senior School this term has centred around raising awareness of indigenous culture and the girls have been keen to ensure that aboriginal voices have been heard in this space, engaging with invited speakers or with video material made by aboriginal people, to assist them to learn more.

As a school, we proudly fly the Aboriginal flag, and through classroom curriculum, excursions and camps, ensure that girls learn about indigenous history and culture. There is, however, more that can be done to promote reconciliation. Later this year, we will be working with all parts of the School community to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan and I look forward to engaging with students, staff and parents to work on this together. In 2022 we will be re-engaging with our philanthropic campaign to fund the Centenary Scholarships, which provide opportunities for students from indigenous or refugee backgrounds to come to Lowther Hall. Sometimes it feels as though the steps that we take in this area are very small and very slow, but it is always encouraging to reflect on what has happened and on the hearts and minds of the next generation who feel passionately about reconciliation. We all continue, in the meanwhile, to navigate the immediate challenges of COVID-19 and the associated lock downs and remote programs. Thank you all for your ongoing support in this space.

Ms Elisabeth Rhodes