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Be Brave. Make Change - Celebrating Reconciliation Week in Maroondah

Published on 03 June 2022
  • Arts and culture
  • Community
  • Events

The community came together last week to celebrate National Reconciliation Week and the achievements, commitments and partnerships with our First Nations community.

Each year, Maroondah City Council celebrates Reconciliation Week between 27 May and 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the Reconciliation journey - the successful 1967 Referendum and the High Court Mabo decision, respectively.

This year’s event included the formal launch of Dancing with Creation, a series of public artworks located in the heart of Ringwood East shopping centre.

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rob Steane was joined by the Hon. Shaun Leane, Minister for Local Government, Karen Milward, Chair of Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place; and artists Simone Thomson (Wurundjeri/Yorta Yorta) and Chris Hume (Bunurong/ Yorta Yorta) for the launch event.

The event also included a Smoking Ceremony by Chris Hume; a Welcome to Country by Aunty Zeta Thomson (Wurundjeri/Yorta Yorta); and performances by Eastwood Primary School choir with Aunty Irene Norman and dance group Bandok Tati.

Dancing with Creation

Dancing with Creation is a key public art initiative developed by Council in partnership with the Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place (MMIGP) and the Ringwood East Traders Association as part of the Ringwood East Place Activation project.

The project includes a mural by indigenous artists Robert Young and Simone Thomson, planter boxes painted by the MMIG community, and pavement art painted by Simone Thomson and Chris Hume from MMIG.

Following the launch activities included a dance performance and workshop by Banok Tati developed by a working group of representatives from Council, MMIG and the Maroondah Movement for Reconciliation.

Be Brave. Make Change

The Ringwood East project reflects the theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week: Be Brave. Make Change.

Deputy Mayor, Cr Rob Steane, said the event was an opportunity to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can join the Reconciliation effort.

“Reconciliation is unity and respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians valuing heritage, justice and equity for all Australians,” Cr Steane said.

“Mullum Mullum Gathering Place is a valued part of the Ringwood East community, providing a culturally safe and inclusive space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to come together to feel connected and empowered.

MMIG supports and facilitates a variety of cultural activities and programs which incorporate art, music, language and storytelling.

“Through culture, sharing of stories and continuing to work closely together, we can build a greater shared understanding and a better world for all,” Cr Steane said.

The Ringwood East Place Activation Project was funded by Council and the Victorian Government through the Office for Suburban Development, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

For more on the series of public artworks, see Dancing with Creation

Reconciliation Week - 27 May to 3 June

Reconciliation Week was first celebrated in 1996 and is timed to coincide with two significant dates in Australia’s history, 27 May and 3 June.

May 27 marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 Referendum saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census.

On 3 June 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision which legally recognised that Indigenous people had a special relationship to the land – that existed prior to colonisation and still exists today. This recognition paved the way for Indigenous land rights called Native Title.

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