BCE students Care for Country this NAIDOC Week


St Joseph’s Primary School Corinda students in front of their school mural by First Nations Artist and Owner of KJH Artworks Kylie Hill. 

Tending to native plants, gardens and bees is on the agenda for students across Brisbane Catholic Education Schools – as they live out their commitment to Pope Francis’ call to ‘Care for Our Common Home’ this National NAIDOC Week (2 to 9 July). 

The commitment is particularly front of mind for students and staff at Holy Cross School Wooloowin and St Joseph’s Primary School Corinda.  
Holy Cross School Principal Simon Mahaffy says the school strongly aligns with the commitment to caring for land and Country.  

“We live and breathe Laudato Si’ at the school and Caring for Country is embedded in the school culture,” he says. 

“Our Sustainability Garden Group teaches students about how they can care for our land and helps them build connection to Country.  

“We are focusing on planting native flora, tending to our native walkway, and ensuring our grounds are kept tidy for our native fauna to enjoy. 

“Our bee house entices local bees to pollinate our native plants, while a recent installation of bird baths encourages native birds onto our campus. 

“Students have also developed a strong respect for our native fauna including our bees, and I often see students watching bees and birds in areas where our native fauna live.” 

In 2022 the school had Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young AC PSM, Governor of Queensland, add to their native walkway by helping students plant a native wattle tree on National Wattle Day.

“The wattle tree has been a wonderful addition to our native walkway, and it is thriving due to the wonderful care our Sustainability Garden Group has provided over the past eight months,” he added. 


From left to right BCE Executive Director Dr Sally Towns, Holy Cross School Wooloowin Former Acting School Principal Michelle McClafferty, Governor of Queensland, Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young AC PSM, Vice President Wattle Day Association.  

Fellow BCE school St Joseph’s Primary School Corinda has a special Year 6 initiative tied to Caring for Country, called Project Change.  

Principal Kim Davis says the program encourages students to initiate positive change within their school community with plans to create a bush tucker garden.  

She says senior students and the school community are currently consulting with BCE’s Ngutana-Lui Cultural Centre to help them create a garden based on a mural commissioned for the school by artist and Kalkadoon and Waanyi woman Kylie Hill. 

“The bush tucker garden will be a place where our students can not only hear and live out Pope Francis’ call to ‘Care for Our Common Home,’ but also help our students recognise their relationship with Country and all of creation,” she says. 

“Now that the mural is complete, our Year 6 students will take part in the planting of lemon myrtle, wattle seed, desert yams, quandong, mint, rosella seeds, bush berry, and black plum plants which are all featured in the mural. 

“The same group also help maintain and care for our native beehives and worm farm which helps pollinate and enrich our veggie garden, native lilly pillies, and future bush tucker garden.” 

St Joseph’s Primary School Corinda students preparing to plant a bush tucker garden. 

About National NAIDOC Week: 


National NAIDOC Week celebrates and recognise the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for all Australians to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth. ​

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