March 25, 2022
Students, staff and guests gathered at Sebastopol Primary School last Friday to unveil Ballarat’s first Peace Pole.
The structure was donated by Rotary Australia as part of an initiative to plant 100 Peace Poles at 100 schools across the country in commemoration of the service club’s centenary.
The Peace Pole is inscribed with the phrase “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in English, Wadawurrung, Maori and Ukrainian, and principal Michelle Wilson said she sees it as an example of the school’s multi-cultural identity.
“It was wonderful to be able to incorporate our First Nations culture onto the Peace Pole, especially, and it’s important that the children are aware of our place and our history,” she said.
“We also have the Maori connection because New Zealand are our near-neighbours, and I also wanted to recognise Sebastopol’s history as a Ukrainian borough when it was founded.
“We’ve positioned it next to our three flagpoles to give it significance and to add to a sense of place that we’ve been able to create in the last 18 months.”
The unveiling was carried out in part by City of Ballarat representative Cr Belinda Coates, who was also a guest speaker alongside Ms Wilson, Ballarat Rotary Club South president Gary Morgan, and several students.
Cr Coates said the Peace Pole promoted an important message for the future of Ballarat, and the world.
“I think the students that spoke today have spelt it out so beautifully, that at every level we need to think about how we can have peace between each other,” she said.
“It’s so important at the moment. There are so many places in the world that are impacted by conflict and war and serious unrest.
“So, I think it’s really nice to be thinking about how we build peace from a very young age.”
Article by: Tim Bottams