National Reconciliation Week - a busy week of recognition and remembering

3 June 2019

This week many people from around Life Without Barriers have participated in events recognising National Reconciliation Week and Sorry Day.

This celebration prompted discussion around this year’s theme: Grounded in Truth, Walk Together with Courage, which highlighted the importance of telling the truth about Australia’s colonial history. 

Image: Pitt Street, Sydney office - Monday 27 May

To kick off the week our staff from the Pitt Street office in Sydney had a small but powerful session sharing food and watching a video on The Apology , followed by a very moving Ted Talk by Sheila Humphries, who was a part of the Stolen Generation.

Image: Hobart, Tasmania during National Reconciliation Week

The Hobart team gathered together to learn more about local Aboriginal culture and were shown how to make rope and bracelets out of river reeds, to remind them about the importance of reconciliation and walking together with courage every day. Manager Casework Jo Cameron, led the group and showed her colleagues traditional shell necklaces made by her grandmother, mother and aunty, as well as a miniature water carrier made by local Elder Aunty Netty Shaw.

Image: The SA team in Salisbury.

Over in South Australia, the Salisbury office held a ‘RAP-alicious’ breakfast on Monday morning. The team were honoured to have Garth Dodd a Kaurna / Narungga / Ngarrindjeri Elder join them for breakfast. Staff participated in the Acknowledgment to Country by speaking in their homeland languages: English, Dutch, German, Swahili, Arabic, Japanese, Khmer, French, Italian and sign language.

The group launched a new RAP initiative ‘RAP & ROLL’ Game to encourage engagement, socialising, learning and sharing. RAP & ROLL is a fundraiser for ‘Project XOX’, which organises Christmas hampers for local clients.

Image: South Australian team at the National Reconciliation week breakfast in Adelaide.

Some of the SA team attended the Reconciliation SA National Reconciliation Week Breakfast at the Adelaide Convention Centre. The program involved a thought-provoking address from Associate Professor Chelsea Bond, a fabulous Welcome to Country from Jack Buckskin and his dance group, plus a performance from Electric Fields.

They also participated in Reconciliation in the West - a community event at Taoundi Aboriginal College, which Life Without Barriers has supported as a partner organisation for several years.

Perth staff were honoured with a visit from Josie Boyle, a member of the Stolen Generation. Josie is a Wongutha woman from the desert and is a well-known storyteller, songwriter and author. Josie shared her story, played her guitar and sang in her mother tongue. Josie reminded staff of the importance of children and to encourage them to achieve their goals.

Image: Northern Tasmania Team in Launceston

The northern Tasmanian team attended a local Reconciliation Week breakfast in Launceston, where they enjoyed a thought-provoking address from keynote speaker, Mr Peter Yu, a Yawuru Man from Broome in the Kimberley region in North West Australia. Peter has over 35 years’ experience in Indigenous development and advocacy in the Kimberley and at a state, national and international level.

Image: Leoni Lippitt - Life Without Barriers State Lead for Queensland.

In Queensland some of our team attended a Sorry Day event held at Orleigh Park in Brisbane's riverside West End, the site of a sorry reminder, Cranbrook Place Aboriginal Girls Home which occupied the area between 1900 to 1906. The day was hosted by our partners Link-Up Queensland.

Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad, Member for Griffith Terri Butler, Cr Jonathan Sri - all called for justice and action to ensure families were unified and protected from separation from community.

Life Without Barriers State Lead, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Initiatives for Queensland Leoni Lippitt was a guest speaker. Link-up CEO Pat Thompson, pointed out that we were lucky to have Leoni, one of the 'deadliest of deadly women'. 

Image: The LWB Executive Team during National Reconciliation Week.

Our Executive Team welcomed Damien Mick to their meeting in Sydney. Damien is State Lead, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Initiatives in the Northern Territory. He spoke about the theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week and led a deep conversation about our unconscious biases and the indirect attitudes and behaviours that many of us learnt during our upbringing in Australia.

The Executive reflected on what has happened in the last couple of generations and how we must mature as a society to acknowledge the intergenerational trauma, in order to become more inclusive and truly participate in reconciliation.

Our commitment to reconciliation

We believe that reconciliation must live in the hearts and minds of all Australians. Learn more about how we’re raising awareness.