Mildura Rural City Councillor Mark Eckel is concerned that the latest move in the South Australian education system might have larger implications.
Cr Eckel Chairman of the Chaffey Trail Reference Group said whilst in Adelaide he read the Australian history will soon be extinct as a Year 12 subject after suffering a decline in student interest.
In a communication to colleague’s Cr Eckel said he believes this was inevitable throughout the education system.
“This should strengthen our resolve for continuing our strategic direction of developing the Mildura/ Chaffey local historical curriculum in local primary schools.”
“Imagine what our local students who started their Chaffey history studies in prep will be ready for when they get to VCE.”
Bob Walton the education representative on the Chaffey Trail Reference Group said he is finding already that those schools/students who have followed the program all through are ready for "in depth" research by years five and six.
“In fact they are able to choose their own history themes/topics and use research strategies to come up with classy presentations using technologies, - blogs, power-points, videos,” he said.
The Chaffey Trail has recently offered Michael Chaffey Hartwig, a grandson of Mildura Pioneer WB Chaffey, a position on the references group.
In regard to the Adelaide newspaper article Mr Hartwig says he shares the sentiments expressed by Cr Eckel and Mr Waldon, who is also a former school teacher.
“Unlike the citizens of many European and other countries, we have little real opportunity to learn about and celebrate our heritage.”
He said that because of the history of white settlement is so short and we of non-Indigenous background know little of Indigenous culture and heritage, we tend to pretend that history and tradition are dirty words.
“Mildura is one of the few communities that teaches some of its own recent history and celebrates the vision and hard work of its ancestors,” Mr Hartwig said.
“This pride in our past is reflected in the beauty of the area and the vibrancy of the community - assets not often seen elsewhere.”
Cr Eckel said without learning of the visions and dreams of our fathers and mothers and a knowledge of the work they undertook to achieve the dreams and fulfil the visions, the younger generations of our community will soon lose that vision and the momentum it has created.
“It is our duty as citizens and councillors, to ensure that the school program is not just continued but extended to the secondary schools so that momentum is not lost forever.”
Cr Eckel said we have a right to feel proud of our municipality which, I believe, is the only one in Australia to have its own formal curriculum and provide resources and support for schools to implement this”
“Let’s continue the good work.”