DR MICHAEL SLATTERY: Aboriginal Welcome to the Diocese

Last week a small group of staff spent two days with CSO Aboriginal Education Officer Mrs Louise Campbell and her husband Terry visiting sacred Aboriginal sites and meeting Aboriginal Elders in the Maitland Newcastle area. 

We visited Baiame Cave where the Wonnarua people welcomed us to their country and explained the 8,000 year old cave drawings and artwork which is sacred to the ancient custodians of the land. This was followed by a visit to rock carvings and a welcome by Darkinjung elder Gabi Duncan at Wollombi at the sacred site near Mount Yengo. These carvings are over 13,000 years old and placed in a sacred meeting place for indigenous peoples for major gatherings and ceremonies and are connected to the Dreamtime and creation of the earth.

The next day saw us welcomed by Worimi Elder Neville at Moorook Culture Centre in Williamtown where he explained the significance of the country including the sandhills, rivers and creeks, plants, animals and people. Following this we headed to Taree to be welcomed by the Taree Indigenous Development and Employment group of Elders from the Biripi people. The Elders included Uncle John Clark and Aunty Fay who told us about the dreamtime stories, medicine, food, natural resources and seasonality.

This was a great learning experience for us all and new relationships were made with some wonderful indigenous leaders in their home country.

Dr Michael Slattery Image
Dr Michael Slattery

Dr Michael Slattery is the Director of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.