Redfern Jarjum College
In 1778 captain James Cook discovered Australia claiming ‘Terra Nullius’ meaning land belonging to no one, since then Aboriginal Australians the original inhabitants of the land have struggled for land and social rights as well as the freedom from persecution and the capability to be educated. Redfern Jarjum College has opened its doors to 24 Aboriginal children who were unable to thrive in the mainstream education system with a program specially designed to accommodate their unique cultural needs. When then-Provincial Fr Mark Raper sj urged Jesuit schools to reach out to socio-economically disadvantaged children in 2008, he couldn’t have known just how well the seed he had planted would flourish. Four years later, Redfern Jarjum College has opened its doors to 24 Aboriginal children who were unable to thrive in the mainstream education system. And with a program specially designed to accommodate their unique cultural needs, the school hopes to give these students a shot at success. Redfern Jarjum College – the first Jesuit school to be established in Australia in over 60 years - was the brainchild of Ailsa Gillett, founder of Life for Koori Kids and longtime staff member at St Aloysius’ College. With Fr Raper’s words ringing in their ears, management, staff members, students and parents at St Aloysius’ College and later St Ignatius’ College, Riverview embraced Ms Gillett’s idea and worked tirelessly to raise more than one million dollars for the project. Funding for the school was also received from the Catholic Block Grant Authority. With community consultation underway, the project team started searching for a suitable location for the school and found it in the former presbytery of St Vincent de Paul Parish, a building gifted to the Aboriginal people of Redfern by the late Fr Ted Kennedy over two decades ago. Restoration was undertaken, appropriately, by St Aloysius old boy Peter Lonergan and his business partner Julie Cracknell of...
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