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In this issue

Welcome from the Head of Gawura
Key dates
Heart Mind Life Uniform Awards
Wellbeing Initiatives
Message from our Wellbeing Coordinator
Library news
Music news
Sports news
What's happening in the Art Space?
Parenting tips
Gifted and Talented education
What's on: upcoming events and activities

Welcome from the Head of Gawura


A calendar invite has been sent to all Gawura families about our next Yarning Session With Parents which is being held tomorrow, Tuesday 15 August at the Long Room at Redfern Oval commencing at 10.30am and concluding at 12.30pm. We have booked an Indigenous artist (Peter Joy Williams) who will lead the group through bracelet making and basket weaving activities. Morning tea will also be provided and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Tuesday 15 August.

We look forward to this coming Friday’s Gawura Cocktail Evening with the theme being First Inventors, Tomorrow’s Creators. It will be a lovely evening of performances and sharing of Indigenous knowledge while we’ll also have the opportunity to yarn and mingle with people across our entire school community who help support our Gawura Program. Please see further details in the events section in this Message Stick.

On Monday 14 August we held our cultural excursion to Muru Mittigar at Rosehill. Students learnt about Aboriginal art, culture, food and technology and throwing boomerangs. Our Gawura students also invited a friend from their Junior School buddy class to go with them. We will have a few photos and more details of this excursion in our next Message Stick.

A big congratulations to all of our Year 2 students who participated in a 2 day/1 night Kirrikee sleepover camp at our school on Thursday 27 July 2023. In preparation for their Year 3 Camp to Kirrikee next year, the Year 2 cohort this year spent the night sleeping in tents on our rooftop playground. Students had a wonderful time and all were asleep by 10.30pm. Thank you to our SACS Outdoor Education team, Mrs Price and the JS staff who assisted in making this happen.

We wish you a wonderful and safe fortnight ahead.
May grace and peace be yours in abundance.


Mr John Ralph
Head of Gawura


Key dates

Monday 14 August
Gawura Cultural Excursion

Tuesday 15 August
ICAS English

Wednesday 16 August
Year 7 (2024) CAT4 testing

Friday 18 August, 6.30pm
Gawura Cocktail Evening Fundraiser

Monday 21 August
ICAS Science

Tuesday 22 August
ICAS Spelling

Wednesday 23 August
Author visit for Years 5 and 6: 
Morris Gleitzman 

Thursday 24 August
Author/Illustrator visit for K-4: Ben Wood

Friday 25 August, 9am
Book Character Parade

Thursday 7 – Friday 8 September
Junior School and Gawura production of My Son Pinocchio Jr

Wednesday 13 September
- Giving Day – Save the date!
- The Great Book Swap


Heart Mind Life Uniform Awards



For a full list of the latest Heart/Mind/Life and Uniform awards, click here


Wellbeing Initiatives


In the lead up to the Voice Referendum later this year we have been advised by parents at our recent GPAC Meeting of a wonderful resource about Wellbeing Initiatives for First Nations Peoples to use if they wish to as we approach the date, click here


Message from our Wellbeing Coordinator


What does it mean to belong to a TEAM?

Our Junior School and Gawura Student Representative Council like the well-known explanation “Together-Everyone-Achieves-More” and have chosen this as the theme for our National Day of Action Against Bullying & ViolenceFriday 18 August will be TEAM Day at St Andrew's. The SRC recognise that when they are a part of a strong team that there is support, connection, fun and understanding between all the players. The SRC want to reinforce this theme by encouraging students to add something from a team to their school uniform on this day, eg: a jersey, cap or scarf. This may be from student’s own sporting teams or from a team they support.

Bring $1.00 to dress up and another $1.00 to participate in the student v staff Penalty Shoot Out. Download the flyer here.

On this day students will be reminded of the concepts within our wellbeing programme, in which students explicitly learn about the signs of healthy and unhealthy friendships, as well as learning how to respond to Mean-on-Purpose behaviour (Bullying). Students are taught that if they experience Mean-On-Purpose behaviour they can use three steps to respond:

  1. In a strong but kind manner they should let the person know that they are aware of the Mean-on-Purpose behaviour and are not ok with it. For example saying something like “Stop it” or “I don’t think so.”
  2. Then immediately walk away from the situation. Do not get involved in a discussion.
  3. Tell a trusted adult.

Whilst we understand that our students are young and still learning about how to relate well to others in a range of circumstances, we do clearly communicate that Mean-on-Purpose words or actions are never ok. If you have any concerns in this area please contact your child’s class teacher or myself, and if you would like any further information about supporting your child to grow healthy friendships you may like to visit URSTRONG or SchoolTV.

Mrs​​​​ Bronwyn Wake
Junior School and Gawura Wellbeing Coordinator and Psychologist/Counsellor


Library news


Premier’s Reading Challenge closes this Friday, 18 August!

Time is running out fast for students to complete the Premier's Reading Challenge (PRC)! In the library, we have visibility to the books that have been read in classrooms, during library lessons and that have been borrowed by individual students, so as we’ve been approaching the finishing line, the library team has been busy logging into student PRC records to give a boost wherever possible. If you see extra books in your child’s reading log, consider it a gift from the library. Most students seem to only need a handful of books to get over the line and we have plenty of quick reads available in the library. Please use these last few days to encourage your child to finish the challenge and ensure all books have been uploaded to their reading log on the PRC website. If you require login details to be resent, or if your child is new to our School and you would like their record from their previous school merged, please feel free to contact me on

Book Week Competition

We have already received a number of entries for our Book Week Competition; to creatively represent or embellish this year’s CBCA theme “Read Grow Inspire” or to create a piece of art inspired by one (or more) of the Shortlisted books in any category. Please see the flyer in the link below for more details and ideas or contact me for more information. Entries close this Friday, 18 August (the same day as the PRC)

Download the competition flyer here.

Book Week festivities

Anticipation is growing for Book Week: an entire week where we celebrate the way books enrich our hearts, minds, and lives.

On Wednesday, students in Years 5 and 6 will be informed and inspired by acclaimed children’s author, Morris Gleitzman, while on Thursday, students in K-4 will be creating colourful illustrations with Ben Wood. Pre-orders for these visiting author/illustrators are now closed. The library will host a variety of activities over each lunchtime and the week will culminate with a Book Character Parade in the Cathedral on Friday 25 August, 9am-10am. Parents are most welcome to attend.

As well as dressing up as their favourite book character, students are required to bring a gold coin donation which will be passed on to Room to Read, an organisation that works to support literacy and girls’ education in Asia and Africa. To find out more, please follow this link:

With you reading, growing, and being inspired.

Mrs Nicole Cotter
Coordinator Information and Digital Literacy – Junior School and Gawura


Music news


Year 3 Hitting all the high notes!

Last week, our Year 3 players came together for the first time to form a band after two terms of group tuition on their instruments. They demonstrated our School Character Strengths of persistence, thinking and self controlled as we learned about rest position, playing position, breathing and we then finally played two pieces as a band! This was a significant moment in our inaugural year of the Year 3 Instrumental Programme.

Thank you to our tutors, parents and students for your ongoing commitment.

Mrs Kate Robertson
Head of Music (K‑6)


Sports news


Rugby wrap
The Rugby 7’s programme concluded after seven rounds in Term 2 and three rounds in Term 3. What an amazing semester of Junior rugby. The competition does not keep score or track a table, however, we do know that the U11s team finished the season undefeated with some impressive results throughout. The U12s team also walked away from the season with plenty of reasons to be proud and encouraged by their achievements. With consistent wins, and more importantly consistent improvement in the way that they played, this team has a lot to celebrate for their last Winter sport season in Junior School. Well done to all the students who played rugby this semester, thanks to all the parents for their commitments to the programme and a very big thank you to Wills and Matt for coaching the teams so well this season. We look forward to the continued development of rugby in the Junior School at St Andrew's!

Girls touch football
We are off to a flying start for the girls Saturday sport touch football programme. With one Year 5 team and two Year 6 teams, we are looking strong in all competitions after the first three rounds. Highlights of the first three rounds this term include:

  • Our Year 5 team scoring two tries against a strong Danebank team.
  • Our Year 6A team taking away their first win against Meriden last weekend.
  • Our Year 6B team going two wins and a draw for the first three rounds this term.

Great work on such a great start to the season girls. We are looking forward to how these teams progress this term!


Athletics Carnival

The Junior School and Gawura Athetlics Carnival was held on 31 July at Hensley Athletic. What a glorious day God gave us to celebrate the amazing athletic talents of students! The beautiful weather was a highlight of the day but teachers can also call bragging rights for the next 12 months after a dominant performance in the staff v students v parents 4x100m relay race. A special mention to Junior School Sport Assistant, Josh Ralph, for pulling ahead on the back straight!

With so many amazing results across the day, it is difficult to highlight just one, however, a special mention must go to Florian Spender McGuinness for his outstanding achievement of 1.3m in the high jump!

The over-all house champion from the day goes to Westminster.

Thanks to all the hardworking staff who made the day such a great success - so much fun and celebration for our students.


Stage 1 sport highlight


Stage 1 students have been involved in Move-Breath-Learn sessions during their Thursday afternoon sport time this term. These sessions are designed to improve balance, coordination, flexibility and strength while equipping students with tools to help manage their emotions, concentrate and build focus. In just a few sessions we have already seen students engage positively in these sessions, building their physical and mental skills.


Stage 2-3 sport

The Thursday afternoon sport programme is well underway for Term 3. Students have been given the choice to participate in a range of sports both internally and externally in the ASISSA inter-school competition. This week’s highlight was the success of our Girls Inter-School netball teams. Five teams travel to Heffron Park each Thursday to play against other schools. Last week, four of our five teams won their games and all girls played very well. Great work netballers!

Mr ​​​​Oliver Denny
Head of Sport Junior School


What's happening in the Art Space?


Colour and line

It’s been a delightful week of colour and line in the Art Space – thanks to our creative Kindergarten students! Each one has created a 3D clay modelled character using clarity of line and bold colour to reflect the nature of the animal character created. Kindy’s perseverance in kneading, moulding, cutting, adjusting, measuring and defining has resulted in these young artists wearing warm smiles of pride!


Art Leaders

Congratulations to our wonderful Year 6 Art Leaders who faithfully spend lunchtimes working in the Art Space to clean, design, create and sort. They are an exceptional team and we celebrated their commitment recently with a small "Thank You" party!

Mrs​​​​ Miriam Daly
Visual Arts Integrator Junior School and Gawura


Parenting tips


Time and experiences or things? Which will it be?

In our society, many parents are time poor. What do I mean by that? Parents’ schedules are so tight there is little room to share themselves with their children. We can, instead, shower our children with “things.” There is no laying of blame here. It is just a statement of fact in a lot of our cases. There are many reasons “things” are chosen… its new… all the kids have one… I want it… it’s easier. In August 2016, Michael Grose wrote about this exact topic in Parenting Ideas. Despite being several years old, it is still a very relevant article for today.

Also, in a similar article in the Forbes Lifestyle magazine in March 2016, Ilya Posen wrote this article, The Secret to Happiness? Spend Money on Experiences, Not Things and in it he quoted research from San Francisco State University that found people who spent money on experiences rather than material items were happier and felt the money was better spent. The thrill of purchasing things fades quickly but the joy and memories of experiences, from epic adventures to minute encounters, can last a lifetime.

Michael Grose suggests we differentiate between needs and wants by asking… "is this something you need or something you want?” We, as adults need to help our children understand the difference. Michael Grose suggests it is better to spoil our children with experiences such as:

  • doing something together.
  • going somewhere new and fun – a park, museum or a movie.
  • doing something outside – walking, playing a game.
  • doing something new – having a swing on a giant swing, catching a train to places rather than drive.

These articles have challenged me as a parent and a grandparent. I am really enjoying spending time with my family and absolutely love looking at things through the lens of my grandchildren, such as picking up shells and crabs at our favourite Castle Park, writing our names in the sand or enjoying sharing sailing lessons with my grandson. It gives me a whole new perspective. I hope this article may encourage you to create some wonderful experiences on your parenting journey.

Mrs Joy Rohrlach
Year 5 Leader


Gifted and Talented education


da Vinci Decathlon

On Thursday 27 July, selected students across Years 5 and 6 competed in the NSW da Vinci Decathlon at Knox Grammar School. The da Vinci Decathlon is an academic competition designed to challenge and stimulate the minds of school students, whilst encouraging teamwork and collaboration. Throughout the event, the students competed in grade teams of eight across ten disciplines: Engineering, Mathematics, Code Breaking, Art and Poetry, Science, English, Ideation, Creative Producers, Cartography and Legacy. The NSW da Vinci Decathlon was attended by over 70 schools, with a focus on the theme of ‘Unity’.

Congratulations to both our Year 5 and 6 teams, who achieved the following incredible results!

Year 5:

  • 1st in English
  • 5th in Creative Producers
  • 6th in Legacy
  • 13th Overall

Year 6:

  • 3rd in Cartography

Below are some reflections from the students about their experience:

“The da Vinci Decathlon was an extremely fun, exciting, and chaotic experience for Year 5. From the very moment we stepped into the Great Hall at Knox and saw the 70+ teams, to when we exited the hall, certificates in hand. Every event was so intense, with everyone on the table scribbling in a frantic rush to finish their papers on time. The time pressure was particularly extreme in ideation; it was mind-boggling trying to think of as many uses as possible for a plastic toothbrush in four minutes! At the end of the day, everyone was thrilled and already talking about next year. It was an extremely enriching and fun time, and we would love to participate again.” – Vanessa Yang and Isabelle Wood (Year 5)

“At 6am on Thursday 27 July, the Year 6 team boarded the train with Mrs Lord and Mr Wu to Knox Grammar School, where over 70 schools assembled to commence the da Vinci Decathlon. In the first session, we undertook the English, Science, Ideation and Cartography papers. We were very proud that our team placed 3rd in Cartography!

In the second session, we had to complete the Engineering, Mathematics, Art and Poetry, and Code Breaking papers. During this time we also had Creative Producers, where Rafferty McGonigle, Meera Joshi and Violet Bloxsom went to perform a short drama skit about Marie Antoinette. The day finished off with the Legacy paper, where we had to identify pictures of people and name them. All in all, it was a splendid event and fabulous experience. We will definitely be trying out again in Year 7!” – Henry Duke and Violet Bloxsom (Year 6)

Mrs Rebecca Lord
Gifted and Talented Coordinator, Junior School and Gawura


Guess how many pebbles are in the jar and win great prizes!

During this week at pick up time, come and find us in the foyer to enter our guessing competition

- how many pebbles are in the jar!

To enter tickets cost $15 each or have 4 guesses for $50.

All proceeds go to Gawura. Winning tickets will be drawn at the Gawura Cocktail Party on Friday 18 August and winners notified by email. Or better still, come along to the Gawura Cocktail Party and join in the fun!

  • First Prize – Koko Black chocolate hamper and 2 bottles of wine (value $150)
  • Second prize – Lief hand wash and balm (value $105)
  • Third prize – 2 x Haighs chocolate fish and a bottle of wine (value $47)

What's on: upcoming events and activities


Join us this Friday. Book now!

Please join us to celebrate and support Gawura – our First Nations school

This year’s theme is “First Inventors, Tomorrow’s Creators”.  Hear about the first Master Ancient Builders of the Ngemba People’s and their Ancestors who invented fish traps in Western NSW Brewarrina. These fish traps are the oldest human-made construction in the world and date back to over 40,000 years. In the local language their traditional name is Baiame’s Ngunnhu. 

Linking history, place, lore and storytelling to syllabus for a deeper connection and sense of self is what Gawura does best. Join us for an evening of fine food and wine and see this cultural storytelling in action.

Friday 18 August, 6.30pm-9.30pm
Chapter House, St Andrew's Cathedral School
Gawura Families: please RSVP via your emailed invitation
Gawura Supporters: please Book here


Tickets are on sale now!

Sometimes, discovering what you have…  is better than getting what you want.

In Week 8, Junior School and Gawura will bring Disney’s My Son Pinocchio Jr to the stage at the Concourse Theatre, Chatswood. All students in Years 3 to 6 are involved in this musical adventure.

In this twist on the traditional Pinocchio story, Geppetto’s wish for a son is granted by the Blue Fairy, but parenting is not quite as he imagined it to be. Pinocchio has a mind of his own, which Geppetto doesn’t like. Because even when Pinocchio tries to follow Geppetto’s instructions, he somehow lands in trouble. Knowing Geppetto’s disappointment, Pinocchio sets out to make his own way in the world, but this too is not as easy as it seems. With the greedy puppeteer Stromboli keen to hold on to Pinocchio, the promise of a perfect child for Geppetto, and the lure of Pleasure Island for Pinocchio desperately seeking freedom, will Pinocchio and Geppetto ever be reunited?

Download the flyer and share it with family and friends.

Join us for the St Andrew’s Cathedral School’s Junior School and Gawura production of Disney’s My Son Pinocchio Jr! Tickets go on sale through The Concourse Theatre today.


  • Evening Performances
    Thursday 7 September, 6.30pm
    Friday 8 September, 6.30pm
  • Matinee Performance
    Friday 8 September, 12.30pm: Students in K-2 and Year 7 will be taken to see this performance. Parents and carers of children in K-2 are welcome to join us for our 'Afternoon at the Theatre'.

Gawura Families - ticket information

Gawura families of students in Years 3-6 have 2 tickets per family reserved for you. Please click on the link below and select which date you would like for your reserved tickets, and then submit the form: LINK TO RESERVE TWO FREE TICKETS PER FAMILY

To guarantee your tickets we ask that you submit your response no later than Wednesday 16 August 2023 by 5pm.

If you would like to purchase additional tickets, please click here