With Mr North leaving at the beginning of Term 2, there have been a few changes to the team. We welcome Mr John Ralph into the position of Acting Head of Gawura. Mr Ralph has been teaching for many years in the SACS Junior School and was very excited to move across to Gawura. As well as being Acting Head of Gawura, Mr Ralph is teaching Stage 3 Gawura students.
Mr Ralph made the following comments about his background:
My grandfather on my father’s side was born as a full blood Aboriginal in Nambucca Heads in 1898. Nambucca Heads is from the Gumbainggir Aboriginal Clan. My father was born in 1924 and served with the Merchant Navy in 1942 as an 18 year old in the waters around New Guinea. Dad had a wife and two daughters (both whom you met a few years ago when I lead the ANZAC Day Service in the Junior School. Their names were Maureen and Gail). My father did not meet my mother until he was separated from his first wife and I was born in 1969. Although there was talk of him being of Aboriginal descent he kept it fairly quiet from our side of the family. Partly because my grandmother (on my mother’s side was not impressed with having an Aboriginal son in law) and the reason perhaps more importantly to him – he wasn’t allowed into a pub for a beer until the 70’s.
My mother passed away from cancer when I was 18 and 6 weeks later when my father’s cancer returned (after being in remission for 8 years but this time was terminal) he disclosed to me his aboriginality. When I asked him why he didn’t identify beforehand his reply was that he didn’t want me to go through the same things he did as a child. My father also loved a beer (sometimes a little too much particularly when I was young) and as a returned Aboriginal servicemen he was not allowed to march in Anzac Day ceremonies or enter a pub to have a beer. If he didn’t make public his aboriginality he would be allowed into pubs and clubs etc. The amber ale won over his heritage!
In short I didn’t know myself of my true heritage until I was 18. Although I have many aunts and uncles on my mother’s side, dad kept his side of the family fairly quiet. I’ve never openly proclaimed my aboriginality (as I didn’t know til I was 18 anyway) but if anyone asks my heritage I do say it’s part Aboriginal on my father’s side and have said so since his passing in 1989. About 6 years ago a Gawura parent asked me about my aboriginal heritage and I said it’s on my father’s side but it’s all a bit messed up. I never forgot her reply which was, “Don’t worry love. We’re all a bit messed up. Just remember – coffee is coffee. It doesn’t matter how much milk you put into it!”
Mrs Pip Naden (right) continues to teach Kindergarten to Year 2 and Mrs Kylie Ford (back left) continues to teach Years 3-4. Mr Neal Flatley continues to provide pastoral support to the students and is in charge of the bus run to pick the students up from home and drop them back after school each day. Tace Stevens (front row – middle) is now also mentoring our Year 7-9 students as well as providing teaching support 2 days a week for our Kindy to Year 2 students. Alicia Savage (not pictured) who is a SACS secondary school teacher, is also mentoring our Years 10-12 Gawura students.
We are very happy with our new team who are working hard each day to provide a great, supportive learning environment for our Gawura students.