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2017: Celebrating Tolerance

Guest Speaker Julian Burnside QC AO

69th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

22nd December 2017

The Shirley Burke Theatre in Parkdale was packed to capacity with young and old from all walks of life. Everyone was eager to hear the guest speaker Julian Burnside QC AO, a famous Australian barrister who campaigns relentlessly as an advocate for refugees and asylum seekers. It was Kingston for Human Right’s Annual Event and the theme was Celebrating Tolerance.

The President of Kingston for Human Rights, Mr Ted Gibbs, paid tribute to the Kulin Nation and welcomed everyone. The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP, Shadow Attorney-General, Shadow Minister for National Security, Federal Labor Member for Isaacs opened the evening followed by the Westall College Singers with a delightful rendition of the song titled “Man in the Mirror” that set the tone for an evening to remember.  This song was made famous by Michael Jackson in the 80’s and is about the idea that social change begins with the individual.

With cheers from the audience Julian Burnside was welcomed and introduced by his university colleague Mark Dreyfus. Julian had flown in from a court case in Western Australia, battled with the peak hour traffic and managed to get to the podium on time.


Because of being an advocate for refugees and asylum seekers Julian had many stories to tell which engaged and inspired children and adults alike to hold out the hand of friendship to help others. He also was given the important task of presenting the prizes for the Children’s Art Competition that is held every year in conjunction with the annual event.


The Children’s Art Competition prizes were kindly donated by Mordialloc-Mentone Lions Club, Dingley Rotary and Westpac Braeside. The Year 9/10 Prize went to a group entry of 20 Kilbreda Year 10 Art students. They had spent 3 months preparing and creating an amazing project with 3D hand sculptures representing various forms of human nature such as individuality, culture and human nature and connecting to nature.

The students then adapted them into 2D paintings to incorporate TOLERANCE, which showed the hands in different ways to represent friendship and understanding towards each other. This came together as an exceptional project of which the school should be very proud!

The girls who represented the Year 10 Group at the awards night were so inspired after hearing Julian Burnside’s talk that they organised to donate the prize money to go to the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project

Also on display in the gallery was a collaborative project – an exceptionally beautiful hand stitched quilt created by Kilbreda Year 12 students. The quilt was on loan from Kilbreda College for the duration of the Children’s Art Exhibition in the Shirley Burke Gallery. The idea for making a quilt came about with the Year 12 students’ Central Australia trip when fabrics by aboriginal women artists were collected and sewn together as individual squares to make a quilt. Students then selected quotes reflecting courage and wrote them onto each square.

Every successful art competition requires an exceptional judge. This came in 2017 in the form of Tiffaney Bishop a leader in promoting youth in art. When she walked into the gallery she was astounded at the level of understanding by such young children. Art Teacher Cathy Maloney said, “In the context of this exhibition the diversity of ideas and individuality of styles may suggest why tolerance is so important for a thriving community.”

The evening finished on a high note with everyone mingling and chatting over a delicious supper.

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