Aboriginal school's cultural area now tagged for destruction

Fundraiser - Save Ballerrt Mooroop College Campaign
at Northcote Uniting Church - Friday 16th September
Featuring Uncle Kutcha and the BMC Dancing Troupe and more

With the Minister of Education's decision overdue and the back gate into the Indigenous school's Cultural Area and Gathering Place now tagged by the builders for entry (see image), the small group of people at the blockade need support now more than ever.

It is worrying that the front-line blockade group of untiring mothers of students, ex-students and a limited amount of supporters will not be big enough to stop the builders from breaking through and bulldozing the 'Spirit Tree', cultural area and Gymnasium/Gathering Place.

The builders are moving closer by the hour and the tagging of the gate for heavy equipment entry is a very negative sign.
In Wurundjeri Country sits the only Aboriginal School since the christian William Thomas established a school on the Merri Creek in the 1830's.

Today the only Aboriginal school Ballerrt Mooroop College may have its cultural heritage desecrated for sewerage pipes, better views and car parks to be built for the new $20m disability school, a prospect not welcomed by the Public.

There are over sixteen thousand Aboriginal people living in Melbourne (32,000 statewide) most who would culturally and educationally benefit from a state of the art Aboriginal school as mainstream education has failed our students continually.

Both schools in mediation achieved in three meetings what the Victorian education department bureaucrats could not achieve in the last three years - an agreement to share the site without desecrating and destroying the Aboriginal school's cultural heritage and facilities. The Minister met with a delegation from ballerrt mooroop College last Thursday.

The choice is now stark, 400 police to remove the many good Protestors to enforce the department's spiritual and physical desecrations or the Minister's support for the two school's decision to share the site equitably into the future. The ball is now in the hands of another Minister, Martin Dixon.

See Yaalong the Rivers and Lakes, in the Mallee, Up the Mountain or in the Big Smoke,

Gary Murray, Victorian Traditional Owner

The Vision

At no pain to the Taxpayer - Now imagine the Ballerrt Mooroop College Old Gathering Place upgraded, some $1m plus from BMC and other sources to restore the cultural memories, the physical and spiritual values of this magnificant symbol of Indigenous protest linked to our Ceremonial Ground and Spirit Tree.

Smoking Ceremonies and Tanderrum Welcome Ceremonies, special and shared events for both schools in an open and public precinct are the possibilities. A Hub to be used by and shared with GSS and multicultural Wurundjeri aka Melbourne.

Ochre rendering of the externals, spick new floors and glass, cultural art and history resplendant, out the asbestos and upgrade the building in the greatest act of reconciliation seen in this state.

The State owes our People, given the land sharing arrangements. At the stroke of a ministerial pen, the dispute ended, no threats from the police, no more protests in summer and winter and, an inheritance doomed in a bad relationship.

No evil Spirits to be smoked away, only Good Ones - just Kids doing what they do best in a state of the art cultural education precinct in a shared journey, that's the Vision.

Gary Murray

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