School proud to fly the in­dige­nous flags

Central Telegraph - - NEWS - An­drew Thorpe an­drew.thorpe@news­re­gional­me­

BILOELA State School has taken an­other step along the path to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, rais­ing the Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lander flags along­side the na­tional flag on three new flag poles for the first time last Fri­day.

The flags are vis­i­ble from the Daw­son Hwy and fly at an equal height over the school sign.

Prin­ci­pal Anne Saun­ders said rais­ing all three flags to­gether showed the school’s recog­ni­tion of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lander peo­ple as the first Aus­tralians.

“Rais­ing these flags here today demon­strates the com­mit­ment of the com­mu­nity of Biloela State School to work­ing to­gether,” she said.

“It’s a re­ally im­por­tant part of embed­ding Abo­rig­i­nal & Tor­res Strait Is­lander cul­tures into schools.”

The school pre­vi­ously had one flag pole for the na­tional flag near the pa­rade area and a sep­a­rate pole for the Abo­rig­i­nal flag lo­cated else­where.

Mrs Saun­ders said the change came about af­ter con­ver­sa­tions with mem­bers of the school com­mu­nity.

“It wasn’t a di­rec­tive given to schools... the com­mu­nity de­cided it was some­thing that is im­por­tant to them,” she said.

“We also have quite a few Tor­res Strait Is­lander stu­dents whose flag wasn’t any­where.

The flags will be raised and low­ered each day by stu­dents, who feel a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity when cho­sen for the task, ac­cord­ing to Mrs Saun­ders.

Biloela State School has 65 in­dige­nous stu­dents, around 15% of the school’s pop­u­la­tion — sig­nif­i­cantly more than the state’s av­er­age.

READY TO RAISE: Biloela State School stu­dents pre­pare to raise the flags for the first time. PHOTO: AN­DREW THORPE

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