This post was written by the organiser of “Give racism the boot”, Lynne Hamilton (Leading Teacher: Curriculum Development).
Many of us were appalled at the lack of respect and prejudice that was handed out to Australian of the Year, Brownlow Medallist and Indigenous role model Adam Goodes recently. The booing that continued for over 17 weeks sparked debate around the country. As a response, MHS staff decided to organise a footy match to stand up against the bullying and vilification that Adam Goodes received and to celebrate the heritage that Indigenous people represent both past and present. The values of honour, resilience, courage and humility were demonstrated by Goodes and by others such as Lewis Jetta who came out in support of Goode’s right to express his culture publicly and creatively on the football ground. As Michael O’Laughlin a fellow Sydney Swans player and long-time friend of Goodes stated when asked his opinion of the recent harassment ; “Often Indigenous players are fine as long as they are humble and silent.”
It was this attitude that led the school to take action. On Wednesday 19th August Princes Hill Secondary College, Albert Park College and Melbourne High School played in a Lightning Premiership to “Give Racism The Boot!” Around 90 boys, staff and students gathered on the oval where a Welcome To Country was offered by our Year 12 boy Sapphire Watkinson. After some fierce competition MHS won the day. The SRC ran a sausage sizzle and sold 300 sausages, Gregor Campbell entertained the crowd with a humorous and constant commentary and songs of courage, defiance and resistance echoed out over the school.
Victor Fagundes and other Year 10 boys did a very thorough job of time-keeping and scoring. And of course all boys from MHS and the other schools must be thanked and recognised for their willingness to “play the game” and to devote their time to the event.
Thank you to Ryan Xu for the time he spent creating an amazing banner for the day. Luckily we have a photo of this masterpiece! Finally thank you to the House Captains, School Captains and SRC captains for their commitment to the success of the day and readiness to contribute.
Thanks must also be given to:
- Ross Pritchard – for his enthusiasm, hard work and liaison with the other schools, including his umpiring.
- Ian Dowling, Paul Keyte and David Veale for their umpiring and coaching.
- Mihaela Brysha, Brett Rushton and Mike Frencham for their time, artistic input and hard work on the day.
- Paul Drew for organising the SRC and for buying the 300 sausages, bread, sauce etc.
- SOFA and Chris Bush for their support of the match.
- Denise Beanland,Tania Sheko, Catherine Morton and Pam Saunders for the wonderful display of Indigenous culture in the Library.
- Ben Dwer of Year 12 English Language class for designing the original poster. Well done Ben.
- All boys from 9-12 who just came along and supported a school event.
- Alexandra Grimwade for the beautiful cake decorated in Jaffas, Licorice and Jelly Babies!
- Olivia Doherty for reorganising the entire MHS Sports programme so that the event could take place. Olivia also managed to get 90 coloured socks donated, including a Sydney Swans Indigenous jumper which will be awarded to the MHS Footy Team at a future assembly.
- Mike Manteit (Old Boy and rookie for Collingwood) for his inspiring opening speech.
The day was an enormous success and all who attended certainly felt a great sense of solidarity, camaraderie and achievement.
Melbourne High School is a signatory to the national Racism It Stops With Me Coalition which has presently 150 signatories.
Gregor on the left
Old Boy Mike Manteit
The following art work is by Jandamarra Cadd, an Aboriginal artist whose work Lynne Hamilton would like to highlight:
Jandamarra Cadd (b.1973) is a Aboriginal Artist with his origins being the Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Warung People in Victoria. He was introduced to painting at the age of 15 and credits this tool of expression as his survival from a challenging childhood treated as a second class citizen in his own land. Jandamarra uses a variety of styles and mediums, favouring oil on canvas, with his unique blend of traditional aboriginal art techniques along with a contemporary and inventive portraiture.
Painting has been a way of life that has enabled him to express his creativity and story telling of the universal truth of connection. In many of his paintings of the human condition, he seeks to be a peaceful voice for the oppressed and minorities. His focus is to use portraiture in a way to allow the viewer a glimpse into the depths of humanity and the expansive expression of the individual soul. (Source)
Mornington Island Dancer
Ceremony – Women’s Business
Thank you to Lynne for organising the day which was truly memorable.