22 February 2017 : A newsletter of the Australian Jesuits

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Jesuits to open new school in Redfern


A new, tuition-free Jesuit primary school for Aboriginal children is set to open its doors in Sydney in 2011, providing disadvantaged children with a quality, holistic education which responds to the needs of local families and draws from the students' own culture.


The Rector of St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, Fr Ross Jones SJ, says that the NSW Board of Studies has granted initial registration of the school, and the City of Sydney Council has also approved the development application for the refurbishment of the presbytery at St Vincent's Catholic Church in Redfern, where the school will be housed.


Named Jarjum - which means 'children' in the Aboriginal Bundjalung language - the school will be sponsored by St Aloysius' on behalf of the Jesuit Province.  


'The formation of children in this school will be intensive and holistic', said Fr Jones. ‘Jarjum will be for children who need it most, those experiencing greater disadvantage, those who, through no fault of their own, have slipped through the system.'


‘Since the earliest days of the Australian Jesuit mission there have been Jesuits working alongside aboriginal people.  St Aloysius' has enjoyed a recent history in that ongoing relationship in Redfern.  We hope to continue that partnership - learning to serve and serving to learn.'


Fr Jones says the project will embrace before-school care, including breakfast where necessary, lunch and after-school activities such as sports, clubs and tutoring. Individual pastoral care will include the students' personal, emotional and physical well-being, including regular health checks in association with the neighbouring Aboriginal Health Service.


'The school will at all times endeavour to respond to local needs in the context of the students' own culture in terms of its mission, policies and curriculum', Fr Jones explains. 'This mission is to draw from, and share with, its students and their families the very best spiritual ideals and moral values, knowledge and learning skills, discipline, and character formation, thereby providing its graduates the opportunity to pursue the best secondary education and lives which will subsequently be fulfilling and liberating.'


Government funding, corporate sponsorship and donations are now being sought for a Jarjum Foundation. For more information contact St Aloysius' College on 02 9922 1177.


By Catherine Marshall


Pictured: The abandoned St Vincent's Presbytery, site of the Jarjum School. 



Comment On This Article

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Existing Comments

Maurice Shinnick


What a fantastic move by the Jesuits. Catholic education doing its finest - supporting the disadvantaged. The courage to establish a non fee-paying schools is a great tribute to the Jesuit spirit of justice and mercy. God bless you all

Kathleen Ryan


Since personal experience of teaching at st francis xavier catholic primary school, bourke, nsw, during '60s & '70s, have been heartened to have seen some of the people of the aboriginal community grow with so much positive energy into adulthood! Being 'almost retired' now, given the chance I'll come in 'sit down' there when I can. Wow! Blessings, Kath.

Margaret M.Coffey


A fantastic move. The Spirit of St.Ignatious is alive and well. Redfern and our aboriginal brothers and sisters deserve a break. Maybe their friends Mum Shirl and Fr. Ted Kennedy have put this thought into the minds and hearts of the generous Jesuits. Margaret m. Coffey Ashfield

John Wilcken


I am delighted to hear of this initiative. Every blessing on the enterprise.

Kay McPadden


Edifying. A dream come true. Mary & Donald MacKillop surely are rejoicing and all founders who cared for the poor, the poor children especially.

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