Recently, my fellow St Hilda’s School Year 12 Study of Religion peers – all 28 of them – and I, took a visit to Beulah Community and St Mark’s Anglican Church on the Sunshine Coast. This excursion was organised as part of our studies about Australian Aboriginal Spiritualities and the impact of the ‘Stolen Generations’.
The Beulah Community is a public charity located in Buderim and strives to engage the community in learning about the history of Australia’s First Nations Peoples and the need for reconciliation. And, educate us they certainly did.
Being in my final year of school and only now starting to really understand Australian Aboriginal cultures and spiritualities is genuinely eye-opening. Just like many students my age, this was the first time I have had the opportunity of hearing directly from Australia’s First Nations peoples in an environment where learning and sharing were the priority.
On arrival Kabi Kabi Elder Uncle Tais gave our group a tour around the 10-hectare property whilst laughing, telling us stories and sharing in cultural activities.
This was the first time I felt that I have really learnt about Australia’s First Nations peoples. This excursion also helped me reflect on our nation’s history, especially of the first Europeans who ostracised, executed and neglected the peoples who first belonged to this land.
On our recent excursion, I gained a greater understanding of the importance of ‘sorry’, Reconciliation and the power of education. I believe encouraging school students to visit places like the Beulah Community, in order to hear directly from First Nations peoples, is essential for creating change.
After leaving the Beulah Community, we visited the local Anglican Church of St Mark’s and were given a presentation by Aunty Sandra King OAM, a Quandamooka and Bundjalung woman and the Reconciliation Action Plan Coordinator for the Anglican Church Southern Queensland. There is no doubt that she is an incredibly strong and valiant woman in sharing with us the story of her family, who were directly affected by the Stolen Generations.
If there was one thing I took away from her presentation, it would be this: knowledge grants power and power grants change. Now, more than ever, do I feel compelled and driven to do everything within my power to expose Australia’s past and accumulated present, whilst simultaneously encouraging essential change.
It’s time to listen and learn because change only starts with us.Jump to next article