Underscoring a longstanding commitment to reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and all Australians, Notre Dame University officially opened Manjaree Place at its Fremantle Campus on 1 June 2017, coinciding with celebrations for National Reconciliation Week.
Manjaree Place (pronounced MAN-YA-REE) provides a welcoming and culturally-appropriate space designed to encourage interaction among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and to provide a sense of belonging to Notre Dame.
The new space, which will also serve as a venue for events and functions that promote reconciliation and Aboriginal cultural knowledge, features traditional Aboriginal paintings by local Fremantle Nyungar artist, Neta Knapp.
Speaking at the launch, Associate Professor Clive Walley, Director of Indigenous Education at Notre Dame, said: “The University has created its own history with the opening of Manjaree Place. It’s been a great journey. The students should feel proud that they have a place where they can study, connect, take time out to reflect and to look after Manjaree.”
Notre Dame Vice Chancellor, Professor Celia Hammond, said the opening of Manjaree Place was part of the University’s recommitment to meaningful reconciliation and, more broadly, the 2017 National Reconciliation Week theme ‘Let’s Take the Next Steps’.
“This space has been developed with guidance from Aboriginal students and staff, and with the input of Nyungar Elder Marie Taylor,” said Professor Hammond.
“The location is significant in that it sits next to the Holy Spirit Chapel and Campus Ministry, an acknowledgement of one of our fundamental Catholic beliefs: that all of us, regardless of race, are children of God: born in the image and likeness of God, and all equally deserving of respect and dignity.
“Manjaree is a place to engage, to learn and to develop a better understanding of the other,” Professor Hammond added.