THE Geelong College community last week celebrated the turning of the first sod on the site of their new state-of-the-art Junior School.
This three-year project will see new buildings constructed on the existing site, with some of the original ‘Campbell House’ buildings remaining.
“We have been working with John Wardle Architects to create a special place of learning that represents best teaching and learning practices, particularly the Reggio Emilia philosophy, with a strong sense of the College community. John, as an Old Collegian, is uniquely placed to do just that,” Principal Dr Peter Miller said.
The ceremony included a Welcome to Country and Traditional Smoking Ceremony led by Wadawurrung traditional owner Corinna Eccles together with Norm Stanley. The Junior School students, staff and guests walked through the eucalypt smoke which cleanses the site and welcomes visitors to the Wadawurrung land.
Prep and Early Learning students then performed ‘Bundjil’ a song and dance that Corinna shared with them last year calling the many birds of the Geelong region. There were many proud crows and graceful swans strutting their stuff.
Continuing the links to traditional owners of the land, Dr Miller announced that the first building to be completed would be a hall and performance space.
“Our new hall will be known as ‘Wayaperree’ which means meeting place in the Wathaurong language, and it will be a place where the community comes together and meets for assemblies, social events, concerts and other performances. It is fitting that such a place of learning is named in the language of the traditional owners who lived and learned on this place and many others around Geelong.”
When another student asked what a ceremony was, Aislin Tiernan told her Early Learning class that it was “a big deal” and that it was with the first sod being turned by Prep student Lucy Miller, Geelong College Council member Gerald Miller and Head of the Junior School Mrs Sondra Wood.
With the official proceedings complete, the children are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of the diggers.