Walking on Sacred Ground

The theme for this year's Bishop's Staff Day was Walking on Sacred Ground - an Indigenous guided tour of Aboriginal culture and history that survives in our community.

Each year, the Bishop of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle conducts a staff day for everyone working in the Curia - Chancery, Catholic Schools Office, CatholicCare Social Services, Shared Services, St Nicholas Early Childhood and the CDF. Introduction, information and inspiration form the foundation for Bishop’s Day. This important day allows staff to experience the many facets of the Diocese at a local level.

The theme for this year's event, Walking on Sacred Ground, saw 250 staff spread across nine locations. These locations included Glenrock Lagoon, Watagans Pine Forest, Yula Punaal Mandalong Valley, Butterfly Cave Sugarloaf, Mt Sugarloaf, Yamalong Yarteen, Saltwater Reserve, Wollombi and the Murrook Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council.

By all accounts Bishop's Staff Day was a resounding success, and a wonderful opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the traditional custodians of the land on which we live. 

Parish-Family Liaison Officer, Helene O'Neill, shares her experience touring Glenrock Lagoon:

"The Glenrock experience was a first for some of the group whilst others had visited the spot and knew they were in for a treat. Pete Townsend was our man for the day and his passion for his people, the land and the preservation of the site added to the adventure. We learnt about the trees in the area and their uses, for example, grounding the seed to make bread and how to numb fish so they float to the surface. Pete showed us a simple test to check whether berries were poisonous or edible – we left that taste test to him though. We walked through the bush to where the predominately fresh water lagoon meets the ocean and were informed of middens and other features that have built up over a long period of time. Following lunch we gathered in a circle and Pete graciously invited questions about his people, culture or anything that had come out of the experience. The richness of this day will stay with us as we strive to be stewards of our precious earth."

A special thanks to our wonderful Indigenous hosts who helped make this day possible.

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