A tight-knit community

There is deep meaning behind the theme “Our Mob”,
chosen for the Redfern College Jarjum Gala on 15 June.

 WALKING WITH THE EXCLUDED  

By Katherine Zerounian, principal of Redfern Jarjum College

When contemplating the theme for our upcoming Gala on 15 June, we stopped to consider what we wanted the event to convey to those attending. Despite many options, we landed on “Our Mob”. Why, might you ask?

During my research to uncover the origins of the word “Mob”, one of our Indigenous staff members shared with me how an elder in his community had linked the origin of this term to the first settlers, where the introduction of livestock led to the prevalence of the pastoral industry and hence references such as “mobs of sheep” or “mobs of cattle” became common in the Australian language.

in light of this, during my time at Jarjum I have learned that this colloquial term evolved for Indigenous Australians to denote a familial or community group with deep cultural and social significance. It reflects positive relationships and signifies a tight-knit community where individuals support each other, collaborate and foster a sense of belonging. It captures something intrinsic to First Nations people and, at the very core, is used to express oneness or shared identity.

As a school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, we proudly characterise our Jarjum community as a Mob. We are a community school with a unique educational model. While our diversity contributes to a rich tapestry of perspectives, experiences and talents enriching the school environment, we are united by our shared purpose and mission. Our Jarjum Mob is family. Our Jarjum Mob is all-encompassing.

So, who makes up our Jarjum Mob? In 2024, our Mob includes:

  • 25 students aged 5 to 12, from more than 20 First Nations clans.
  • Seven teachers who collectively have more than 117 years of teaching experience.
  • 13 support staff (including teaching assistants, speech therapist, paediatrician, administrator, pastoral care, bus drivers, occupational therapist and counsellor).

Importantly, since Jarjum’s inception in 2013, Fr Ross Jones SJ, Ailsa Gillett OAM, the College Board, St Aloysius College, Saint Ignatius College Riverview, Jesuit Education Australasia, Nexia, Variety Australia and Salesforce have remained instrumental members of our Mob. More recent additions who have significantly impacted the breadth of our daily curriculum and wellbeing programs include Alan and Gill Gray Philanthropy, the Property Industry and Knight Frank Foundations, Obii Mobi, Story Factory, Evergreen Music, Centre 360, NCIE, The One Box and North Sydney Parish. 

There are 59 individuals and five community groups who have financially contributed to our college this year. It is possible to volunteer at the school, donate items, attend Thursday Community Lunches, or be a Jarjum “follower” on social media.

And if you still need to purchase your ticket to our Gala, your Mob is calling you to do it today. Purchase your ticket here.

This article was originally published in the latest Redfern Jarjum College newsletter.

Redfern Jarjum College banner image by David McMahon