The culmination of many years of planning and countless hours of physical work, Blackfriars today celebrated the blessing and dedication of our completed western campus redevelopment.
The work includes extensive landscaping, the development of the Masters’ Pavilion, the creation of the Jubilee Walk and the landmark Welcome to Country artwork.
Dozens of invited guests, including Prior Provincial Dominic Murphy OP, Blackfriars Board Chair David O’Loughlin (BPS’82), Catholic Education SA Director Neil McGoran, past principal Simon Cobiac, past head of primary Frank Ali and staff and students from other Catholic schools, gathered for the blessing and dedication, held to coincide with the Feast of St Dominic.
Daniel Coleman kicked off proceedings with a didgeridoo performance, followed by a stirring Welcome to Country by Rosalind Coleman, in which she shared stories from her own journey in Catholic education.
Father Dominic then led the Liturgy of Dominican Saints along the Jubilee Walk.
The concept of a commemorative walkway to celebrate the 800 years of the Dominican Order was first proposed in 2015.
While the original plan was to unveil the walkway in 2016, to coincide with the global jubilee celebrations, coming up with a suitable design and location became a sticking point.
However, with major landscape works being undertaken at the front of the campus to complement the Aquinas Centre, utilising the expertise of landscape architects from Swanbury Penglase, a suitable location and design concept materialised during 2021.
The Jubilee Walk forms a welcome for visitors to Blackfriars that charts the history of the Dominicans, recognising the order’s most prominent figures dating back to the start of the 13th century and St Dominic himself.
The horseshoe-shaped path surrounding the school’s front lawn features 25 granite inlays with the names of men and women who have searched for truth – veritas – in the footsteps of Dominic.
Welcome to Country
The Blackfriars Welcome to Country artwork, by Paul Herzich, is based upon the Narntu Tree – Southern Cyprus Pine (callitris preissii).
Prior to 1836, Narntu grew in abundance on an open, grassy woodland landscape across the plains and the coast of central Kaurna Country, of which these days include the Adelaide CBD and suburb of Prospect.
Narntu is a useful plant for Kaurna people. Some uses include narntu resin, which was attached to a short stick for children to suck on while teething. Narntu resin was also used to bind sinews and grips on small implements, such as barbs to reed spears and axe-heads to handles.
The hardwood branches of the narntu tree were also used to make spear throwers, canoe or raft-punting poles and for fire making.
What is now known as Prospect Road was originally a Kaurna walking track from the now-Adelaide CBD to the St Kilda area. The walking track (padnipadninya tapa) passed a large, inland sand dune formation to the west, which is referenced as being the Kilburn sandhill. It then continued up the coast and through the ancient Kaurna burial grounds, with wardlipari (the Milky Way) and wirltu tidna (the Southern Cross) overhead.
Expressed as a contemporary connection to Country, Blackfriars is located adjacent to padnipadninya tapa. Journey lines in four general directions depict students, teachers and families travelling to and from the school.
Prospect is on the edge of a significant Kaurna place known as Mikawomma (open plains) between Adelaide and Port Adelaide.
One story associated with Mikawomma is that of hunting kurka (kangaroorat / bettong) and waltha (bush turkey/Australian bustard).
Combined with the positioning of tirntu (the sun), wolta is a summer star constellation that signifies the start of warm seasonal change and has links to bush turkey behaviour patterns. In the artwork, waltha tracks are coming to Mikawomma looking for a mate, while a kurka escapes to live another day.
Murlapaka (the Kaurna shield) stands proud, signifying that this is Kaurna land.
Buildings, locations named
As part of today’s formalities, a number of buildings and locations around Blackfriars were formally named for the first time.
They include the Primary School classroom block, now known as the Ferrer Building, the school oval (now Lewis Oval) and the Creative Arts & Design Technology Centre (now the Angelico Centre).
The St Catharine’s administration building was also rededicated as St Catherine’s, in honour of St Catherine of Siena. A portrait of St Catherine, by Blackfriars teacher Daniel Shepley, will be displayed in the rededicated building.
You can read more about the new building/location names here.