We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the Macquarie University land, the Wattamattagal clan of the Darug nation, whose cultures and customs have nurtured and continue to nurture this land since the Dreamtime. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.
The theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week, ‘In this together’, could not be more important and pertinent in 2020. For the University, Reconciliation Week (27 May-3 June) marks an opportunity to celebrate the collaboration and connection with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students, including a recent initiative between Campus Life and Walanga Muru staff.
Led by the Sport Development team, Campus Life began a project with Walanga Muru to further understand the culture of the custodians of the land on which our campus stands and how the multiple programs, services and facilities they operate could acknowledge the Wattamattagal Clan of the Darug Nation.
“When our students represent Macquarie at national and international sporting events, both students and staff wanted to ensure we were truly representing the culture and togetherness of our community,” says Sophie Curtis, Manager, Sport Development and Partnerships.
Guided by Taylah Pearce, who is the Walanga Muru Pathways and Engagement Coordinator and a Darug woman from the Buruberongal language group, and with the blessing of Dr Leanne Holt, Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous Strategy, Campus Life was gifted the use of the Burrumering, a guardian spirit for Darug peoples, as well as for many other Indigenous clans up and down the East coast.
“The Darug Nation has a number of spirits that represent and reinforce the cultural values of the Darug Nation,” explains Uncle Bob Webb, Darug Elder. “The Eagle – Burrumering (pronounced burra-mer-ring) is one of the most significant Darug Nation spirits.
“Burrumering represents leadership, strength, wisdom and protection for the Darug Nation. Burrumering can soar high above, navigate the cultural landscapes and waters, and is a creative hunter, gatherer and provider for the Darug people. Burrumering has great wisdom and continues to watch over the Darug people to ensure their safety.”
Dr Holt – who was recently awarded the 2020 CEW Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation Scholarship for educational leadership – says this is a great example of the power of collaboration.
“Working with Campus Life on this initiative and several other projects showcases the wonderful achievements and outcomes of collaboration and creating authentic relationships with Walanaga Muru and the broader Aboriginal communities, which is the aim of the Indigenous strategy,” she says.
Working together with Taylah Pearce, Campus Life engaged Lara Went of Yukul Art to create an image and artwork of the Burrumering. Hailing from Forster NSW, Worimi country, Lara began Yukul Art in 2014 and draws inspiration from Worimi country, her family, the ocean, caring for nature and mother earth.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of this project, working with Sophie as well as the wider Campus Life team has been a real pleasure,” says Taylah.
“It is so heartwarming to see and feel the strong relationship between us, one that is built on mutual respect and understanding. This relationship clearly demonstrates that we are ‘In this together’ and their team’s strong commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Reflecting on the artwork of the Burrumering that has been created it truly reflects the cultural values of protection and support and will be a trailblazing feature of Campus Life’s new branding and image.”
Campus Life will now incorporate the artwork and design of the Burrumering into their representative sport team uniforms and staff uniforms, and will feature the image across their facilities on campus. The initiative will also see the end of the use of the MacWarrior logo, formerly used by Campus Life in conjunction with sport and recreation programs and facilities on campus, as they take greater steps to ensure they’re creating an inclusive and safe environment reflective of the diverse student, staff and broader community presence at Macquarie.
In addition to launching the Burrumering, Campus Life staff and management have been undertaking ‘Manawari’ training, the Aboriginal and Cultural Awareness training led by Phil Duncan, Aboriginal and Cultural training Coordinator. Together with Phil, Campus Life developed their Aboriginal Cultural Safety and Engagement department plan, which in partnership with the staff and teams of Walanga Muru aims to develop deep and genuine relationships, furthering opportunities and innovative outreach that will build Indigenous capacity on campus and in the future.
As well as the Manawari training, a Baduwa Aboriginal Foundations module will be available for the Macquarie student community from July in a joint initiative between Student Life and Walanga Muru.
Pete Boyle, Head of U@MQ, says they are focused on creating environments that are safe, inclusive and fun.
“Our commitment to Manawari training, as well as Ally training and RNA training, signals our intention to always try to do the right thing for students, staff and the broader community. I hope our success in increasing knowledge in these areas serves as an example of what can be achieved across our wider Campus.”