Swinburne Annual Barak Wonga Oration 2020 Enduring Legacies

At this year’s annual Barak Wonga Oration on Thursday 29 October, Yorta Yorta and Wurundjeri activist and educator Dr Lois Peeler AM will focus on the importance of a deepening engagement with the narratives of often unknown Aboriginal heroes active in the Aboriginal struggle from colonisation to the present.

Dr Peeler’s, ‘Enduring Legacies’, will centre on the change-makers who, through their innate ability to instil on others hope for a better future, pave the way for future Aboriginal generations.

From model to role model: Lois Peeler inspires the next generation of Indigenous Australians.

Dr Peeler’s impetus is for refining this national inclination towards categorising Indigenous heroism and sacrifice as somehow different in quality and significance when compared to European achievements of the same period.

Swinburne’s Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Pascale Quester said the event highlights the university’s commitment and dedication to reconciliation; this event is to examine, to question, to motivate, and to inspire us all to drive for an enhanced future.

“The Barak Wonga Oration is an exceptionally special occasion for Swinburne, and I feel privileged to be able to attend for the first time this year,” Professor Questor said. “Although I’d much rather attend the Oration in person, I’m looking forward to sharing in this inspiring Oration with our local and international guests.”

This year’s event will be broadcast online due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Swinburne Annual Barak Wonga Oration is named after two significant Wurundjeri leaders – William Barak and Simon Wonga. It is organised by the Moondani Toombadool Centre, which is responsible for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander matters at Swinburne.

Professor Andrew Gunstone, Executive Director of the Moondani Toombadool Centre, said the Swinburne Annual Barak Wonga Oration is a key element of Swinburne’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), and aims to increase understandings in the wider community regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.

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