THE main entrance of Warrnambool College has been adorned with a bright and welcoming message of inclusion.
The Grafton Road entrance of the college now features an indigenous-themed mural with the word Ngatanwarr — meaning “welcome” in the local Keerraywoorrong language — taking prominence.
Local indigenous artists Fiona Clarke and Bronwyn Ferguson created the mural.
Ms Clarke said there were a lot of Aboriginal symbols in the mural.
“In the background there are flowing rivers and eels which represents important pieces of Aboriginal survival, food and water. There is also tracks and men’s and women’s camps,” she said.
“Then in the foreground there are symbols of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people sharing and enjoying the land together.
“Having Ngatanwarr included was very important, to welcome students, staff, parents and visitors to Warrnambool College.”
Ms Clarke said the mural also featured symbols representing education, which she said had long been part of Aboriginal tradition.
“My ancestors educated their children for thousands of years on what was right and wrong, how to look after each other and how to look after and respect the land,” she said.
“Education is important for all our children to learn how to survive in today’s world. Education will help them move forward into a bright and happy future, which is reflected in the bright colours used in the mural.”
Warrnambool College assistant principal Adam Matheson said the mural linked in with four message poles the two artists helped paint last year.
He said the mural was one small aspect of indigenous programs and initiatives schools across the region were working on.
“It’s important for us that our indigenous students feel their culture is being recognised and they feel welcome at school,” he said.
“In the coming weeks we will have a language program facilitated by Joel Wright, from Brauer College, that our students will be participating in.”