Winding up the Redfern visit

From Sunday 7 December.

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In Redfern Street

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These buildings have had a most interesting history over the past 40 years. Great and not so great, but rarely uncontroversial, things have happened here. See Church Mouse (A small voice from St Vincent’s Redfern), Redfern Jarjum College, and Jarjum College opens amid hopes and concerns.

REDFERN: Jarjum College, a new independent Catholic school for Indigenous children, was officially opened on April 12 [2013]  before a crowd of over 500 people. On the site of the former St Vincent’s Presbytery in Redfern Street an old building has been transformed into a small school with a current intake of 20 students…

…In officially opening the school Governor Bashir thanked the children and the work of Principal Beatrice Sheen as well as mentioning her own family connections to Redfern through her grandparents who lived in the area.

After working for a number of months at the new school, Lottie Ceissman is now one of its most vocal critics. She was recently dismissed from her role. As well as believing that she has been unfairly treated in her dismissal, she is also very critical of the direction that the school is taking and has raised strong concerns regarding the present quality of education at the school. “The Jesuits have come in with a ‘top-down’ attitude,” she said.

“They haven’t involved the local community. You cannot run a school like this. They are not learning reading, writing and arithmetic. They are learning how to do dot paintings. The principal is just trying to make it too ‘aboriginalised’. They don’t even have a proper play yard. I don’t want my job back. It’s an unsustainable place. They started 26 kids and now they are down to 20.”…

And then to Surry Hills

The Sydney visit ended with lunch with M at the Shakespeare Hotel in Devonshire Street — not as good as on earlier occasions as they mixed up our orders sending out very indifferent fish and chips instead of the much better grilled barramundi we were expecting.

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In the Shakespeare Hotel

M was a bit sore and sorry too as his bike had been hit by a taxi the previous Sunday. I guess all things considered he was lucky the injuries were not worse.

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