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In this issue

Message Stick – Term 1, Week 4
New Student Leadership Team 2019
Library News
Sport News
Volunteer for Gawura reading
Gawura Scholarships
Heart Mind Life Awards
Parenting Tips
Head Lice
Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao
Upcoming Events
Sign up for swimming lessons
Camp Australia – registration

Message Stick – Term 1, Week 4


What a wonderful day our Gawura students had on Monday this week at the annual JSGS Swimming carnival at Drummoyne Pool. The weather was bright and the races that took place were excellent with some very close results indeed. Even our swimmers who took to the Lizard Lane had a ball and contributed to their overall house results as everyone received points for participating in the many events that were held.

I would like to thank all of the parents who attended the Meet The Teacher afternoon last Thursday week on 7 Feb. It was great seeing the regular attendees along with our new kindy parents. In the last fortnight I had the privilege of attending the Go Foundation Ecosystem event where Go Scholars were able to meet with various Go Foundation partners. It was a wonderful evening and our very first Go Scholarship holder Kayliah Keegan will benefit immensely from the resources of the Go Foundation.

Last Friday 15 Feb saw our very own Gawura School Captain for 2019 Mariah Keegan be inducted along with the other captains and prefects into leadership positions of both Junior School and Gawura School. Mariah will be a wonderful captain throughout this year.

I have received a request below from Ms Colusso who teaches Yr 11 Environmental Science in our high school.

I have a lesson with year 11 where we have been studying ecosystems, I have come across a point that I think could benefit from being taught from an Indigenous perspective.

What role can mythology, storytelling and anecdotes play in the passing on of scientific knowledge?

Is there anyone (perhaps a member of our Gawura families) who might be willing to come in and talk to Year 11 about how important factual knowledge can be passed down through story? Specific stories would be ideal. Ms Colusso plans to teach this lesson on 12th March from 8:30am. Please let me know if you are interested or know someone who is willing to come in and help this Yr 11 class out.

Finally, I would like to let our Yr 6 families know that the Yr 6 Kirrikee Camp to the NSW Southern Highlands will take place on Wednesday week from 27th February to Friday 1st March.
Have a wonderful and safe fortnight ahead.

Mr John Ralph
Head of Gawura


Dates for your calendar

Tuesday 19 February: Kindergarten StEPS Eyesight Testing

Wednesday 27 February - Friday 1 March: Year 6 Camp

Thursday 28 February: Stage One to Tumbalong Park

Thursday 28 February: Opening of the sports centre

Friday 1 April: Kindergarten to The Gruffalo

Friday 12 April: Term 1 concludes


New Student Leadership Team 2019


Congratulations to the new Junior School and Gawura School leadership team who were inducted into office last week by Dr Collier.

The Leadership Team for 2019 is comprised of:

  • Junior School Captain – Bianca Zhu            
  • Junior School Captain – Aidan Carey
  • Gawura School Captain – Mariah Keegan 
  • Junior School Vice-Captain – Jamie Spittle                    
  • Junior School Vice-Captain – Oscar Dance           
  • Drama Captain – Thea Sholl             
  • Music Captain – Ilia Campbell        
  • Canterbury House Captain – Cydney Sadler                  
  • Durham House Captain – Charlie McCabe     
  • Hereford House Captain – William Fife             
  • Salisbury House Captain – Freddie Cobb           
  • St Paul's House Captain – Orlando Lennon                
  • Westminster House Captain – Emily Dries             
  • Winchester House Captain – Charles Gunning              
  • York House Captain – Edie Swibel

Library News


Library monitors for 2019

We’d like to thank all the students who wrote incredible applications to be considered for the position of library monitor.

We’d like to congratulate the following students who have been successful in their application:
Alison Ahn, Ilia Campbell, Chantilly Ho, Jamie Spittle, Jasper Crosweller, Ruby Daley, Thomas Trott, Jessica Wyhoon, Abigail Clark, Eva Dewar, Erin Winsbury and Cydney Sadler.

There was one other successful application made and as soon as we find out who wrote it we’d love to welcome them aboard too.

We know they will be exceptional role models for all our students and will do their best to meet the expectations of this role.  We look forward to working with them throughout the year in the Junior School and Gawura Library.

Love your library day
February 14 was Love your library Day or Library Lover’s Day, so we celebrated how much we love our library during the lunchtimes. Students had the opportunity to go on a blind date with a book. This was an opportunity for students to borrow a book on blind faith that the librarians had chosen great titles. They borrowed a covered book and then got to unwrap it to discover the treasured title within. Four lucky students won a book they could keep.

  • Chase Smolinski won a signed copy of The fearsome, frightening, ferocious box
  • Archie Miles won an advanced copy of Cowboy and Birdbrain
  • Amelia Pensabene won an advanced copy of George and the great bum stampede
  • Jasper Crosweller won a signed copy of Mad Magpie

Thank you to everyone who got involved in all the activities we had on to celebrate how much we love our SACS Junior School & Gawura Library.

“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So, we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.” – The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss.

Svetlana Paul
Information and Digital Literacy Coordinator JS and GS



Sport News


Welcome back to the sporting year for 2019! The Junior School and Gawura have started quickly with representative tennis and basketball trials already completed; where we managed fantastic results in both! James Prestwich and Kiera Munzone both attended and represented the school we are so proud.

Congratulations to Kiera Munzone for qualifying through to the CIS tennis tournament as the top seed from ASISSA. Also, congratulations to Jayden Hannaford for being selected to trial at the highly competitive CIS basketball trial. Both young athletes are elite for their age groups and are outstanding representatives for the school. Good luck in the coming weeks!

Tony Dunseath
Coordinator of Sport and Cocurricular K-6, PDHPE Teacher


Volunteer for Gawura reading


Reading in Gawura is the nicest way to start your day. We are looking for more volunteers to help our children. Please consider coming in one day a week at 8am or 8:20am – perhaps after you drop your children off. Our volunteers include SACS parents, grandparents, retired teachers, company executives, barristers and Old Andreans. All you need is a happy smile, a great attitude and a working with children check. For more information please contact Karen Swibel on 9286 9661 or via email

Catherine Gunning
Gawura Fundraising & Foundation Development Manager


Gawura Scholarships


Dear Parents.

We are starting our 2020 Gawura Kindy Enrolment process by marketing for new applicants.

We would like to ensure that all siblings of our current Gawura students have the opportunity to apply, so that they can be considered for enrolment. Hence, if you do have children who are Kindy age 2020, please ensure you have sent an application form to me by the end of May.

Application forms can be found at or email me at Please do hesitate to let me know if you need any advice or help.


Bruce Perry                                                                                                          Registrar/Mathematics Teacher


Heart Mind Life Awards

BJ Carr Kindergarten For being a good friend to everyone
Peta-Lacey Smith Year 4 For showing a kind heart in class by always helping and caring for her peers
Joshua Morgan Year 5 For excellent effort in Science

Parenting Tips


Building Independence – Helpful Ideas.

Michael Grose is the founder and author of an interesting monthly blog, Parenting Ideas. He is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s also the author of 10 books for parents including Thriving! and the best-selling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It.

This month he has written a helpful article on building independence in children. Here are his 12 points to consider.

1. “Never regularly do for a child the things a child can do for him or herself”

This is perhaps the original parenting-for-independence manifesto, and it’s a philosophy that guides many teachers and parents today. In effect, this sentence means that wherever possible we give children the skills and competencies to look after themselves physically and emotionally.

2. Is this something you can do?”

Independence takes many forms but perhaps the most common is the development of self-help skills. The confidence, pride and, for most, sheer pleasure that kids get from doing the simple things for themselves such a toddler tying his shoelaces or a child making his own lunch, is immeasurable.

3.“Have you checked the help roster today?.

A great way to develop a sense of independence is to give kids opportunities to help out at home. There is no need to overburden children with jobs, but a sensible allocation of chores according to their age and study requirements is not only a great help to you, but fantastic training for them.

4.“Which of these two would you prefer?”

Parents as wise leaders need to call the shots on how the family life is conducted and health and welfare issues such as appropriate bed and bath times. Some things are not up for negotiation. But there are areas where parents can rightfully hand autonomy to children and say, ‘It’s your call!’

5.“How can you make this happen?”

Kids get used to bringing their problems to parents to solve. If you keeping solving them, they’ll keep bringing them.

6.“We rely on you to do this?”

Reliability is closely connected to responsibility and other aspects of independence. Every child over the age of five, at the eldest, should do something that someone else relies on whether it’s looking after a pet, clearing the meal table or emptying the garbage on a regular basis.

7.“What can you learn for next time?”
Learning from mistakes is part of the independence-building process for children. Often adult impatience or unwillingness to put up with errors prevents us from giving kids the chance to do things for themselves or take real responsibilities.

8. How do you feel about this?”

An often, over-looked aspect of independence is the ability to self-manage your emotional state. Emotional self-management starts with the recognition of how you feel about a particular event or action and then labelling that feeling.

9.“When you muck up, you make up?”

Kids of all ages will make mistakes. In fact, mucking up is part of the learning process. But kids will just repeat their mistakes unless they experience the consequences of their decisions.

10.“How will you fix this?”

Independent kids are usually socially-smart kids who don’t operate in a bubble. They know that their behaviour impacts on others they are mindful of the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of others. They also make amends or restore relationships when their behaviour impacts negatively on others.

11. “You need to do what’s right, not what’s easy.”

A sense of integrity is important for a child’s independence because it’s the basis of reasoned and socially focused self-control and self-management. The job of parents is to move their children from ‘Me’ to ‘We’.

12. “Let’s find a way to make this happen.”

One of the ways to develop independence is to work with them to build their skills and abilities to safely navigate an ever-broadening environment outside of the relative safe confines of their home. Ideas include adults and kids doing things together such as catching public transport until they are ready to go it alone or with friends; and giving kids smaller freedoms that lead to bigger liberties such as allowing a young child to walk part of the way to school on their own and then extending the distance as they get more experience and feel more confident.

These are some great ideas for you to think about and try sometime.
Joy Rohrlach
Stage 3 Leader


Head Lice


From the Health Centre

Dear Parents and Guardians,

This morning I have been advised of a few cases of head lice in both junior and senior school. I ask that you check your child’s hair, read the information below and treat, if necessary.
People acquire head lice from direct head to head contact with another person who has head lice. If someone in your family has head lice, tell anyone who has had head to head contact with them, so that they can check their family and treat, if needed. There is no need to treat the whole family, just those who are found to have head lice.

Half the people who have head lice never scratch their head so scratching is not a reliable sign. Lice can be hard to spot because they move quickly. If you find it difficult to detect head lice, the easiest and most effective way to find them is to follow these steps on a weekly basis:

  • Step 1 Comb hair conditioner on to dry, brushed (detangled) hair. This makes it difficult for lice to grip the hair or run around.
  • Step 2 Wipe the conditioner from the comb onto a paper towel or tissue.
  • Step 3 Look on the tissue and on the comb for lice and eggs.
  • Step 4 Repeat the combing for every part of the head at least four or five times.
  • Step 5 If lice or eggs are found, the person should be treated.

Check with your chemist for a reliable treatment product. A follow up treatment seven days later is recommended. Alternatively, the head lice comb and conditioner method to treat head lice can be used every second day until no live lice have been found for 10 days.

The only linen that requires specific washing is the affected person’s pillowcase this should be washed in hot water or put in a clothes dryer on a hot or warm setting for 10 minutes. All hair combs, brushes, hats and accessories should be checked and cleaned at time of treatment.

An adult female louse is approximately the size of a sesame seed and can lay as many as 50-100 eggs in its lifetime. Humans are indispensable to their survival, so head lice cannot survive for more than two days if they fall off their human host.
To prevent recurrence, hair should be tied back and hair checked weekly for lice. Students should be told not to share hats, brushes and combs.

Thank you for your help in ridding the school of these unwanted visitors. If you need any further assistance please contact me in the Health Care Centre.

Mrs Danielle Hillier RN
School Nurse

9286 9570


Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao


Wednesday and Friday Appointments Available.

I would like to advise you that we have secured the services of a very generous doctor in the city who is willing to see our Gawura students and their families free of charge (he will bulk bill through Medicare) if the need arises. Dr Shuo (Shore) Zhao is located at Level 1, 70 Pitt St, Sydney. You can book an appointment with him on any Wednesday and Friday morning between 8am – 12pm.The number of the practice is 02 9233 3399.

We understand that many parents already have their own doctor that they use, possibly even through the Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) in Redfern but this is just another option for you to use if you choose to do so and one that is located in the city, near our school.


Upcoming Events


Sports Centre Grand Opening - Thursday 28 February


Please join us as we celebrate the official opening of our new state-of-the-art sports facility.

Facilities include:

  • a strength and conditioning area
  • a 25-metre sprint track
  • a spin bike space
  • a multi-purpose open area
  • new bathrooms
  • a classroom
  • staff room for PDHPE, sport and outdoor education

Book Now:


Balmain Area Picnic Day – Sunday 10 March


Get to know your SACS community on the Balmain peninsula.

Join with local SACS families, the SACS Boys’ Choir and Darling St Anglican Church for a church service at 10am followed by Garden Party.

For more information visit:


Kirrikee Picnic Day – Saturday 16 March


Join us for a great day out at Kirrikee on Saturday 16 March.

There’s high ropes, abseiling, log rolling, billy carting, laser shooting, mountain biking and loads more.

Kirrikee is only 1.5 hours from Sydney’s CBD.

Enjoy the day, lunch included. Overnight stay optional.

Book now:


Gawura Cocktail Evening Fundraiser – Friday 22 March


Please come and celebrate the International Year of Indigenous languages and the life changing work that happens in our Gawura classrooms every day.

Join us at our 2019 Gawura Cocktail Party and help us raise funds for this important educational work.

Bring your friends, bring your colleagues or bring a group of parents from your child’s class. Enjoy the music, the company, the fun and we will even teach you some Wiradjuri language.

It’s a great way to get involved in the important work of Gawura.

  • Where: L’Aqua, Roof Top Level Cockle Bay Wharf
  • When: Friday 22 March: 6pm – 9pm
  • Cost: $120 per head

For further information please contact Catherine Gunning, or 9009 5465

Book now:



Sign up for swimming lessons


Are you interested in swimming lessons?

If you become a member of any of the pools below, you can receive two weeks free.

These pools include:

  • Andrew Boy Charlton Pool
  • Victoria Park Pool
  • Prince Alfred Park Pool
  • Cook + Phillip Park Pool
  • Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre

Offer ends Thursday 28 February

For more information, please visit


Camp Australia – registration


To attend our care, parents/guardians must register their child with us by completing an online enrolment form via our parent portal. It’s very important that parents/guardians fill out all compulsory enrolment documentation for their child and notify us of any medical conditions, illnesses and other, to ensure the health and safety of all children in our care.

Families can register for free at

For more information, please visit


Get connected on our social media

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Follow our Twitter: @gawura_sacs

Follow our Instagram: @gawura_school

Visit the Gawura Website:


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