More than a word: National Reconciliation Week

From 27 May to 3 June, Australia will recognise National Reconciliation Week (NRW) and the journey we are making towards a more just, equitable and reconciled nation.

Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021 is ‘more than a word’, urging the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

In recognition of National Reconciliation Week, the City of Perth would like to thank the efforts of the Elders Advisory Group in the vision and implementation of the organisation’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

City of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said the implementation of 93 actions in the City’s first RAP had contributed to building an organisation that recognises and celebrates cultural diversity. He said the City was moving towards an Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan later this year.

“The Elders are the Bridyas (bosses) and as such are recognised, valued and honoured by the City as heads of the Aboriginal community,” Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said.

“We are grateful for the knowledge and guidance the Elders have provided to help shape the City’s projects and initiatives, ensuring Aboriginal history and culture is celebrated throughout our community.

“The Elders have helped to create groundwork for moving forward, working in partnership and making things happen.”

From 1 to 3 June, the City of Perth will be illuminating Council House in the colours of the Aboriginal Flag, while Trafalgar Bridge in East Perth will also light up in red.

Marking the beginning of National Reconciliation Week is National Sorry Day on 26 May. The City of Perth acknowledges the history and continued effect of the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from their families, communities and culture.

The City’s newly redeveloped Wellington Square – Moort-ak Waadiny is a significant site for the Whadjuk Nyoongar community – especially in the lead up to Sorry Day.

Located in an area that was previously part of a rich ecosystem, it has strong social, spiritual, cultural and historic significance.

Currently, Wellington Square’s Place of Reflection features a refurbished Sorry Pole in the north-west corner of the park. The Sorry Pole will remain in this location until the installation of a beautiful, reflective artwork acknowledging the Stolen Generations in 2022, created by Wadandi Elder and artist Sandra Hill.

“The site of Wellington Square sits on land that was part of a swamp system and therefore of great significance for the Whadjuk people who lived there for many thousands of years,” Western Australian Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation (WASGAC) Managing Director Jim Morrison said.

Wellington Square also features a native hibiscus flower for its resilience and survivor instinct which characterises the Stolen Generations.

This year, Council House and Trafalgar Bridge are lighting up in purple in recognition of National Sorry Day.

Further events occurring around the city to recognise Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week are listed below:

Sorry Day 2021

26 May | Wellington Square, North West Corner | 11am to 1pm | Invitation only

National Sorry Day will take place at Wellington Square in East Perth for primary and high school students from schools in and around Perth. The day will feature a wide range of activities for students. Council House and Trafalgar Bridge are lighting up in purple in recognition of National Sorry Day.

Fireside Yarning

30 May | Matta Gerup – Heirisson Island | 6pm-7.30pm | Bookings required

Gather around the sacred camp fire together and hear City of Perth Elders talk about the importance of Matta Gerup (Heirisson Island) to Nyoongar people in the past and today. Listen and engage with the Moorditj Bridyas as they invite us to hear what reconciliation means to them, the process involved, and how we can all play a part. This event is an opportunity to tell stories and share together. Participants are to bring their own camp chair and any food for sharing. This is a non-alcohol event.

National Reconciliation Week lighting

1, 2, and 3 June | Council House and Trafalgar Bridge | Nightfall

From 1 to 3 June, the City of Perth will be illuminating Council House in the colours of the Aboriginal

Flag, while Trafalgar Bridge in East Perth will also light up in red.

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