We acknowledge the muwinina people, the Traditional Owners and Custodians who for thousands of generations, lived and cared for the land on which our College stands today.

We acknowledge the continuing relationship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country that was never ceded and commit ourselves to the ongoing journey of Reconciliation.

As a Catholic learning community in the tradition of Blessed Edmund Rice we are inspired and nurtured by the wisdoms, spiritualities and experiences of First Nations People and commit ourselves wholeheartedly to working for reconciliation, justice, truth and healing. Our calling to reconciliation is shaped by the Touchstones for Catholic Schools in the Edmund Rice Tradition, the Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy and EREA’s Head, Heart, Hands and Feet Framework for Educating for Justice and Peace. Our actions are expressed through authentic responses to the Touchstones for EREA Education – Gospel Spirituality, Liberating Education, Inclusive Community and Justice and Solidarity. Our commitment also reflects our authentic expression of the Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic education in Tasmania.

St Virgil’s College has a meaningful, genuine and valued partnership with Tasmanian Aboriginal communities. We understand that true reconciliation can only be possible by first acknowledging the harm that has been done to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples since British colonisation and recognising the intergenerational trauma that has resulted and continues to exist for many of our families. For this, we are truly sorry. We continue to engage with Elders and Community members to ensure that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students feel safe, respected, acknowledged and empowered to learn more about their identity and culture and have many opportunities to deepen existing understandings and connections to Aboriginal history and their local communities.  

Tasmania’s history since colonisation has, in common with the rest of Australia, been a terrible and brutal one for First Nation’s peoples. History and school curriculum have, until recent years, been written from the perspective of the coloniser which has further marginalised Aboriginal people. It is significant to note that the current generation of students at St Virgil’s now have the opportunity to learn the true history of lutriwita trowunna Tasmania. 

In partnering with Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali online platform we have been able to provide practical ways to introduce meaningful reconciliation initiatives into classrooms, activities around the school and throughout our College community. A critical component of this has been in providing educators with access to professional learning and curriculum resources to support the implementation of the ACARA Cross Curricular Priority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives into all curriculum areas and at all year levels from Years 3 to 10. A truth telling curriculum is key to making Reconciliation a foundation for all that we do at St Virgil’s College and for us it is inspired by the example of Jesus and the work of Blessed Edmund Rice who famously said, “Have courage, the good seed will grow up in the children's hearts later on”.  The seed has certainly been sown at St Virgil’s and has been nurtured by the Country upon which our campuses sit, in particular the ancient property at Austins Ferry, nestled on the banks of the Derwent River, which has sustained life for Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years. 

We understand the importance of land to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and it has been a deliberate choice to meaningfully engage with our surroundings throughout our reconciliation journey. Accompanied by members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community we continue to seek ways to properly care for Country and to provide all our staff and students with opportunities to help rehabilitate the Austins Ferry Campus while bringing our learning beyond the walls of a classroom. Initiatives such as lowamakana, the Nine Nations Path, the Children’s Peace Garden, the Cool Fire Burning programme and the Interpretive Cultural Walk all help to include our staff students and families in a shared commitment to reconciliation. 

Reconciliation Action Plan

Our Reconciliation Action Plan reflects the identity and aspirations of our College community in making reconciliation at St Virgil’s a living, authentic and powerful means of achieving justice and peace in our collective future.  Reviewed and updated every year, our RAP is an ongoing record of our Actions, Goals and Deliverables in our Classrooms, School and Community and describes the Relationships, Respect and Opportunities we endeavour to strengthen and share as we walk hand in hand on a journey with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples towards a truly just and reconciled Australia.

More information about Reconciliation Action Plans can be found on Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali online platform.

View our SVC Reconciliation Action Plan.

SVC Reconciliation Action Plan Overview

Our 2021-2024 Reconciliation Action Plan Overview provides a strategic summary of some of our achievements, goals and aspirations in reconciliation and begins by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land both campuses of our College sit upon, the Land of the muwinina People. Our principal’s statement places Reconciliation deep in the heart of the Identity of our College and recognises the need for truth-telling and Aboriginal voice in all our endeavours. Our Path to Reconciliation highlights key moments of our early work in reconciliation, some of our ongoing actions and several of our future aspirations. Finally, the creative artwork of some of our Aboriginal students and the tireless contribution of our Working Group are recognised in the closing pages. 

tunapri makuminya Project 

The tunapri makuminya Project was created by young palawa scientist Jamie Graham Blair throughout the challenging and unpredictable year that was 2020. Initially Jamie was commissioned by the College to create a biocultural survey of the Austins Ferry campus, one in which we hoped to identify every plant species on the campus which was of cultural significance to Tasmanian Aboriginal people. However, the final project was much larger and came to include conservation and regeneration suggestions and proposals to expand cultural practice and cultural learning opportunities within the surrounding landscape.

An Executive Summary Document of the tunapri makuminya Project was published, which places the work in context with the ancient and colonial history of the Land and the stories and experiences of the people who have cared for and are still caring for it.

The tunapri makuminya Project has the capacity to significantly strengthen and deepen learning programs both in the classroom and beyond and is situated within many of the Actions, Goals and Deliverables of our Reconciliation Action Plan.  Importantly, the tunapri makuminya Project provides opportunities to meaningfully engage with the Aboriginal peoples of lutruwita/trowunna/Tasmania and First Nation’s Communities from other regions of Australia and has increased awareness amongst everyone involved of the importance of Caring for Country but also in allowing ourselves to be Cared for by Country.