Inspiring Boonwurrung Naming of Junior School Classrooms

In a stirring testament to their cultural awareness and engagement, a committed cohort of Year 3 students in 2023 proposed the naming of our Junior School classrooms after Indigenous Boonwurrung animals, following their immersion in local First Nations language and interaction with their ELC Buddies.

These students presented their proposal to Mrs Felicity Hutton, Head of Junior School, and Ms Alex Treloar, IB PYP Coordinator. It was then shared with our College Principal, Mr Peter Clague. There was unanimous enthusiastic support. Subsequently, the students courageously shared their proposal with the entire Junior School staff, who embraced the idea wholeheartedly.

The next step involved obtaining permission to use First Nations language for naming the classes. Through the RAP Committee and with the assistance of Jane Cuttler, Warruwi Partnership Coordinator, we established contact with Jaeden Williams who serves as the Managing Director of Biik Bundjil, a cultural organisation dedicated to integrating Boonwurrung culture into contemporary society. Biik Bundjil has collaborated with numerous kindergartens and schools across Boonwurrung Country.

Jaeden joined us at our ELC to Year 4 Picnic on Monday afternoon to lead a Smoking Ceremony, sharing insights about Boonwurrung Country and its unique essence. He imparted some Boonwurrung language, such as “boop boop” (children), enlightened us about the significance of each element of nature, and discussed local animals. Furthermore, he emphasised the importance of expressing gratitude to Mother Earth and Father Sky for the abundance of the land we are privileged to inhabit. Jaeden also bestowed upon us the Boonwurrung names for our Junior School classes.

Our new Junior School class names are:

  • Prep A – Eagle (Bundjil)
  • Prep B – Black Cockatoo (Yanugae)
  • Prep C – Black Swan (Gunawarra)
  • 1A – Possum (Wallert)
  • 1B – Mouse (Tuyang)
  • 2A – Platypus (Murrin Murru)
  • 2B – Turtle (Gundillawah)
  • 3A – Frog (Ngarrert)
  • 3B – Eel (Iilk)
  • 4A – Koala (Gurborra)
  • 4B – Wombat (Wareen)

It was a profound honor to embark on the journey of reconciliation with Jaeden and to have him impart Boonwurrung culture to us.