Reconciliation Vic Newsletter Aug 2019

Check out the latest gigs, cultural events and reconciliation news from around Victoria

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this eNews may include images of persons who are deceased.
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August 2019
July was another action-packed and exciting month for us here at Reconciliation Victoria – with significant developments towards reconciliation internally and in the broader community.

We celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures alongside tens of thousands of Victorians during another fantastic NAIDOC Week (or NAIDOC Fortnight here in Victoria). The theme of ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth.’ resonated strongly across the nation but particularly here in Victoria where progress towards Treaty continues at a steady pace. We should be proud to be leading the way in that respect. But we also had important conversations about the importance of truth-telling, acknowledging and being open about our shared history and the need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have more opportunities to shape their own future.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt announced the government’s intention to put constitutional recognition to the Australian people via a referendum within the current term of government. There has been much said since that initial announcement, but we remain hopeful that the self-determination of Aboriginal people will be progressed in the next three years.

Meanwhile, here at Reconciliation Victoria we held the first meeting of our Cultural Council of First Peoples, marking a new era of engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria. The council will guide our work, better reflecting the diversity of views and our commitment to self-determination under our guiding principles.

The first meeting was an opportunity for the council members to get to know each other and us, and to begin engaging with our work. The enthusiasm, openness, honesty and passion they showed makes us excited to see where we will go next. Read more about the work of the Cultural Council in the News section below.

Coming up this month, the countdown is on for another fantastic Regional Forum and Tour, this time down on Wadawurrung Country on the Surf Coast. We’re really looking forward to sharing another weekend of learning with many of you.

Have a fantastic August.

The Reconciliation Victoria team.


Cultural Council of First Peoples

The Council is a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who reflect the diversity of this community in Victoria, which will provide cultural knowledge, advice and guidance to the Reconciliation Victoria Board and our CEO.

The Council will guide Reconciliation Victoria’s engagement with the Victorian Aboriginal Community; enhance the scope of cultural knowledge of Reconciliation Victoria and provide advice and guidance on our strategic areas of work.

This Council has been a long time in the making, and held its first meeting in mid-July. At the first meeting, members shared with the group why they wanted to be involved and their perspectives on issues such as Treaty in Victoria, and how to get non-Aboriginal people on board.

We thank all members for their invaluable contributions and look forward to the next meeting in October.

Reconciliation Australia has announced the finalists and highly commended early learning centres and schools for this year’s Narragunnawali Awards.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in November.

Early Learning
•  Barefoot Early Childhood, Queensland
•  Forbes Preschool Kindergarten, NSW
•  Kelly’s Place Children’s Centre, NSW

•  Maclean High School, NSW
•  Moolap Primary School, Victoria
•  Tamborine Mountain State School, Queensland

Congratulations to Victoria’s Moolap Primary School on being named as a finalist in the awards, which celebrate the important contributions of schools and early learning centres towards reconciliation. Two other Victorian schools were highly commended for their work, Goondiwindi State Primary School and Lloyd Street Primary School.

We’re so excited to see such impressive work towards reconciliation in such a critical space.

Find out more here.

Budj Bim added to UNESCO World Heritage List

After a tireless effort over many years by the Gunditjmara Traditional Owners – led by Uncle Denis Rose – Budj Bim has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Congratulations to all involved in seeing the significance of this Aboriginal cultural site appropriately acknowledged. 

We were lucky to be shown around beautiful Gunditjmara Country by Uncle Denis back in 2016 as part of our annual Regional Forum and Tour.

Older than the pyramids, a sophisticated aquaculture site, a people who knew (and still know) how to manage the land and waters sustainably.

Find out more.

Reconciliation Victoria Regional Forum and Tour on Wadawurrung Country

Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 August

Places for this year’s tour and forum on Wadawurrung Country (Geelong/Surfcoast area) have all been filled.

However, we still have a handful of free places available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who want to come along and join in the activities over the weekend. You’ll have a deadly time! Email us for further information.

We’re looking forward to an action-packed and educational weekend with everybody who has signed up!

A Wadawurrung Traditional Owner will give a tour of culturally significant sites across the region on Saturday, followed by a forum on Treaty and language on the Sunday morning. The LRG forum will take place on Saturday evening and there will be opportunities for socialising around the campfire with a BBQ, mingling and yarning.

Events will begin at 10am on Saturday, 17 August.  We encourage participants to arrive and stay the night of Friday, 16 for networking and socialising if possible.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt puts constitutional recognition referendum back on the agenda

Minister Ken Wyatt announced his government’s intention to put constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to Australians via a referendum in the next three years. As part of a speech during NAIDOC Week, the annoucement was welcomed by many, although there is a lack of clarity of what a ‘Voice’ to parliament will look like.

Some have expressed their opposition to the plan, saying a Treaty with Australia’s First Peoples must come first.

Above: Minister Ken Wyatt at the National Press Club.

Illustration: Andrew Dodson, Sydney Morning Herald

One giant leap for Indigenous Australia, but let’s be clear about the Voice
Read this article from The Age.

Indigenous referendum won’t be held if it looks like failing, Ken Wyatt says
Read this article from The Guardian.

Treaty when? Dodson warns of betrayal and airbrushing of Indigenous ambition
Read this article from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Queensland Government settles stolen wages class action

About ten thousand Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will share $190 million in unpaid wages earned over a 30-year period.

The significant win was welcomed despite the long delay in achieving such an outcome.

And now another class action is being organised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Western Australia to recover stolen wages there.

Queensland Government to pay $190 million settlement over unpaid wages

Read this article from
ABC News.

Hans Pearson, with his nephew Noel Pearson, was the lead claimant in the class action.

Indigenous stolen wages at centre of WA class action as dust settles on Queensland case

Read this article from
ABC News.

Children were sent to live and work on stations including Moola Bulla in WA’s Kimberley.
Photo from the State Library of Western Australia
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2019 is celebrating the early years, and promoting the importance of early years education and care for our little ones.

This day is a special time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to celebrate their children, and for all Australians to learn about Aboriginal cultures.

More information.

As the conversation at the federal level is exploring opportunities for constitutional recognition and options for a ‘Voice’, preparations for the election of the First People’s Assembly of Victoria continue to progress.
The Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission is continuing to accept candidate nominations for the assembly and urging all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria, as well as Victorian Traditional Owners living interstate, to enrol to vote in the assembly election between September 16 and October 20.

Candidate nominations close on August 16. More information and to register.

First People’s Assembly of Victoria – Elections
Recruitment is underway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in Victoria to work as Polling Officers. Roles are available across Victoria during the
in-person voting period.
Voting is from Monday, 30 September until Sunday, 13 October.
More information, contact Linda Manning on 9419 7216
or free call 1800 224 420.

Treaty Conversations

Supported by Reconciliation Victoria, these conversations are continuing with events in Knox, Port Phillip, Hume and Moreland during August.

Knox Treaty Conversation

The purpose of this conversation is to support and facilitate deeper conversations with the local community about Treaty/ies in Victoria. Residents will be able to ask questions to a panel of experts to gain a deeper understanding of what Treaty will mean, and how it might work both locally and across the state.

The evening will include a Welcome to Country, finger food and an interactive panel discussion.

Friday, 9 August
6.30 – 9pm
Knox Civic Centre,  511 Burwood Highway, Wantirna South
Bookings.  Information.

Port Phillip Treaty Conversation

Victoria is in the process of developing a Treaty with Aboriginal people to recognise and celebrate their unique status, rights, cultures and histories. What is the Treaty process? What will a Treaty mean for you and why do we need one? What role can non-Aboriginal people play in supporting this important issue? Join us for a Community Conversation.

Keith Gove, Secretary and Board Member of Reconciliation Victoria, and the Chair of RecStonnington will moderate a discussion including author, filmmaker and songwriter Richard Frankland and CEO of Reconciliation Victoria, Diana David.

Richard Frankland

Proud Gunditjmara man, Associate Professor, author, filmmaker, singer/songwriter and family man. Keynote Speaker in Indigenous issues including Treaty, Lateral Violence and Cultural Safety.

Diana David

Proud Kaanju Nation (Central Cape York Peninsula) and Kulkagau Ya Iama (West Torres Strait Islands) woman, CEO of Reconciliation Victoria and formerly with the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission.

Thursday, 22 August
6.30 – 8.30pm
St Kilda Town Hall, 99a Carlisle Street, St Kilda
Free event. Refreshments provided.
Information and bookings.

Moreland and Hume Treaty Conversations

Discover what a Treaty between Aboriginal Victorians and the Victorian Government means for you. Victoria is the first Australian state to commit to negotiating a treaty with our First Peoples. Treaty will formally recognise and celebrate Aboriginal Victorians’ unique status, rights and cultures. Treaty will benefit all Victorians – promoting reconciliation, fostering shared pride in Indigenous cultures and helping to heal the wounds of the past. It is an historic moment in the history of our state and our country.

A Welcome to Country will be performed at each event.


Thursday, 15 August
6 – 8pm
Siteworks, Workroom 2, 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick
Bookings.  Contact Petr Svoboda on 9240 2467 or email Petr.


Thursday, 22 August
6 – 8pm
Hume Global Learning Centre – Broadmeadows
Seminar Room 4, 1093 Pascoe Vale Road, Broadmeadows
Bookings. Contact Corey Williams on 9205 2377 or email Corey.

Aboriginal History Archive goes digital

Victoria University researchers are building the country’s first digital archive of resources ‘that alters the current colonial bias of how Australia’s Aboriginal political history is understood’.

The Aboriginal History Archive comprises thousands of rare photos, videos, campaign ephemera, press clippings, and manuscripts that document the country’s Black Power and self-determination movements, and other key events.

The university says that digitising the collection opens up enormous opportunities for understanding Australia’s contemporary history for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, educators, students, historians, academics and new generations of activists.

Above: Professor Gary Foley with content for the Aboriginal History Archive.

More information.
Aboriginal research and researchers.

We are conducting a short survey to help us ensure the content on our Maggolee website continues to be relevant and useful for you.

Please share your thoughts before August 19 by completing our short 5-10 minute survey to help us to continue to improve the website. We would be very grateful if you could also please forward this survey to anyone else you know who might be accessing and using Maggolee.

Take the Survey now!

Not-for-profit The Torch gets its message on track

Keep an eye out for The Torch’s tram, travelling along routes 48 and 109 over the next couple of months, with the aim of shedding light on the overrepresentation of Aborginal and Torres Strait Islanders in our prisons.

The Torch aims to reduce reoffending by running arts programs inside prisons and selling artwork created by the participants. 100% of proceeds go to the artists. 

CEO Kent Morris, a Barkindji man, hopes Victorians will be prompted to take practical action, such as donating or purchasing a work of art by an offender or ex-offender.

“When you buy a piece of art, you’re not only supporting a vocational pathway for the artists, but you’re giving them the tools they need to make a positive change.”

Kim Kennedy, a Ngiyampaa woman, whose artwork ‘4 Rivers’ features on the tram, said: “When I got out I had nothing. The money that I made from The Torch, selling my paintings, helped me set up my house.”

More reading from The Torch.

Greater Shepparton City Council adopts Reconciliation Action Plan

We congratulate former HART Award Winners Greater Shepparton City Council for taking the next step in its reconciliation journey, by adopting its first Reconciliation Action Plan in June.

The Reconciliation Action Plan ‘will help achieve Council’s vision for a future where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have equitable access, inclusion and opportunities, and where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ cultures are honoured and respected’.

Host a Morning Tea for Culture to support Aboriginal children in care heal and connect to culture. VACCA invites all groups, workplaces, churches, schools to host a morning tea and help Aboriginal children in care. Find out how you can help raise funds to support VACCA’s important work.The funds you raise will make a difference to Aboriginal children in care and in their programs – every dollar counts.

We encourage you to learn more about VACCA by visiting their website.

Champion AFL footballer and Indigenous leader Adam Goodes became a lightning rod for a heated public debate and widespread media commentary that divided the nation.

He publicly called out racism, was named Australian of the Year, was accused of staging for free kicks, and performed an on-field war dance celebration. The cheers became boos as football crowds turned on him.

Using only archival footage aired at the time, The Final Quarter documentary holds a mirror to Australia and is an opportunity to reconsider what happened on and off the football field.

Stream it now on 10Play.

To register your interest in using THE FINAL QUARTER in your school, workplace or organisation click on this link.

Read Luke Buckmaster’s film review in The Guardian.

Let’s Talk Race: A Guide

The Australian Human Rights Commission has developed a guide to assist Australian organisations in conducting meaningful and productive conversations about racism. It can be used in conventional workplaces, community groups, faith organisations, sporting clubs as well as other organisations. While it is designed to be useful as a ‘proactive’ document, it can also be used to assist in facilitating conversations about racism after an incident has occurred. Find out more


Swinburne University’s
2019 Annual Barak Wonga Oration

presented by
Dr Jackie Huggins AM

My Life Journey in Aboriginal Affairs

Thursday, 1 August
5.30 – 7.30pm. 427-451 Burwood Road, Hawthorn

Registration and information.

Deakin University
will be hosting a free public lecture presented by

Professor Gabrielle Lynch
University of Warwick

Transitional Justice and Politicisation of Reconciliation

Tuesday, 27 August  4.30 – 5.30pm.
Deakin Downton, Tower 2, Level 12, 727 Collins Street, Melbourne
More information.
A multimedia soundscape exhibition that celebrates UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages and the 25th Anniversary of the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL).
Co-curated with VACL, ngulu wurneet, galada-al wurrung-u, parniwaru tyalingi, waran woorroong-ee, barringgi dyaling – River of Language encourages visitors to be immersed in Aboriginal Ways of Knowing, Being and Doing, and learn through listening and observation.

The VACL curatorial working group of Vicki Couzens and Brendan Kennedy asks visitors to take the time to “learn to see the world through our eyes, through our words, stories and images”.

River of Language continues until Sunday, 13 October
Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum.  Information

We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waters of Victoria.
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Gulung – Wurundjeri
season of orchids (early spring)

Key Dates

4 August: National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day

17-18 August: Regional Reconciliation Forum & Tour on Wadawurrung Country

Save the Date
26 October: AGM


Stolen / Wealth

A dual exhibition that opens a dialogue about the impact of government policies and colonisation on the lives on real people, and how these policies have had a mass effect on family cohesion and access to resources.

Stolen / Wealth, a play on commonwealth, explores colonial history through the displacement of people and resources. Looking at the repercussions both domestically and abroad, Stolen investigates the impact of being taken from your family at a young age, while Wealth examines the accumulation of capital by colonial powers and the impact on those that have had their resources, including land, stolen from them.

Featuring artists Millie Bruce née Yarran, Judy Watson, Abdul Abdullah, wãni, Pierre Mukeba, Frances Tapueluela, Lisa Waup, Peter Waples-Crowe, and Sha Gaze + Ayuen K Bol, this exhibition will encourage you to consider your own definition of wealth, and that the finer things in life could be the things you can’t put a price on.

Exhibition runs until Sunday, 4 August
Wyndham Cultural Centre, 177 Watton Street, Werribee
More information

Yarra City Arts
is proud to be hosting

A Linear Narrative

by Eastern Arrernte and Gurindji artist Ros Sultan.

Exhibition continues until Wednesday, 14 August.
Open during library hours.

Bargoonga Nganjin, Yarra Libraries, 182 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North
More information.

dhumba-njan dhumba-njarr

(speak-i speak-you)

Language comes out of the land. When Bunjil created land and life he also created language. Immerse yourself in a culture defined by a living language. Hear the songs, feel the rhythms and see the shapes and colours of a timeless people.

You’re invited to become involved in an ancient and living culture in visual splendour and interactive engagement.

This exhibition has been created with guest curator, Aunty Brooke Wandin, to mark UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Exhibition continues until Sunday, 1 September.
Yarra Ranges Regional Museum, 35 Castella Street, Lilydale.

Photo: The Three Wandins 
Photographer: Kate Baker


Reconciliation Victoria invites representatives from South West Victorian Regional Local Governments to attend our next Maggolee workshop.

The workshop is a free event that aims to bring together Local Government representatives to learn about Maggolee’s purpose and strengthen connections between staff working on Aboriginal community projects, commitments and Reconciliation Action Plans.

Friday, 16 August
10am – 3pm
Geelong West Town Hall, Supper Room, 153 Pakington Street, Geelong West.
More details.


Stolen Generations Schools Kit now available

The Healing Foundation has launched its Stolen Generations Resource Kit for Teachers and Students. The free resource was developed to help school communities start a conversation about the Stolen Generations and introduce students up to year nine to the lived experiences of Stolen Generation survivors.

Cultural consultation with survivors was key to the project, which was undertaken with guidance from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous teachers, parents, early childhood specialists and curriculum writers.

Download the kit here.

Resource to help celebrate the International Year of Indigenous Languages

To mark the International Year of Indigenous Languages, Reconciliation Australia has put together a resource explaining the history and importance of revitalising First Nations languages, and how to respectfully explore reconciliation opportunities around language.

More information.

New report shows impact of living with Stolen Generations survivors on children

A new report from The Healing Foundation, in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), examines the impact of removal and intergenerational trauma on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living with Stolen Generations survivors.

It found children living in these households are more likely to experience a range of adverse health and welfare outcomes than other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

More information.

Possum Skin Pedagogy – A Guide for Early Childhood Practitioners

The recently launched ‘Possum Skin Pedagogy – A Guide for Early Childhood Practitioners’, authored by Dr Sue Atkinson-Lopez, is now available free through the Yarn Strong Sista website.

Possum Skin Pedagogy invites Early Childhood Practitioners to become ‘the learner’ as they work respectfully alongside and with Aboriginal community.  Find out more

Our kids have grown up in a fog about the history of the land

Bruce Pascoe’s 2014 book Dark Emu rewrote Australian history and continues to win awards, inspire projects and change the conversation.

A new kids’ version is now available. Young Dark Emu – A Truer History asks young readers to consider a different version of Australia’s history pre-European colonisation.
The Guardian review.
Buy from Magabala Books

“Teach your children to rebel. Teach your children to doubt.”

At school, Bruce Pascoe was taught Aboriginal people were backward wanderers. Today, the Dark Emu author argues for curiosity and doubt.

The Guardian, 1 June 2019
Read the article here.

Making your workplace or classroom culturally inclusive

With over 50,000 people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin in Victoria, it’s now more important than ever to be informed on how to make your workplace, classroom or association culturally inclusive.

Koorie culture has historically been disregarded or overlooked in these environments but there are a handful of things that can be done to ensure a more inclusive and positive future.

Download here.

The Education Calendar is the best resource to incorporate Indigenous learning into your school and classroom. Download here

Best Practice in Koorie-Inclusive Early Childhood Education

VAEAI’s Early Years Unit has produced two videos on best practice in Koorie-inclusive early childhood education. The videos feature four of Victoria’s Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Services (MACS).They are intended to be watched and used by early childhood educators and other staff members who work at early childhood education and care (ECEC) services.

The videos have been organised into three modules. Information here

Reconciliation in Schools and Early Learning

The Narragunnawali professional learning resource, Reconciliation in Education: Learning Unlearning Relearning,
encourages teachers and educators to reflect on the importance of education to reconciliation in relation to your own education experiences. Genuinely engaging in reconciliation involves personal and professional learning and reflection. Find out more

TV • Videos

Blue Water Empire

The ABC screened a three-part dramatised-documentary series on Torres Strait Islander history called Blue Water Empire. It’s an introduction to the Torres Straits and an exploration of the concepts that shaped their culture and customs before white settlement, told though key stories by the men and women of the region.

You can catch up on iview.

Eumeralla – A War Requiem for Peace

This requiem for peace brings into focus a period of Australia’s history that is yet to be fully understood. Written and composed by acclaimed Yorta Yorta soprano, composer and Artistic Director of Short Black Opera, Deborah Cheetham AO. It is sung entirely in the ancient dialects of the Gunditjmara people and was performed at Hamer Hall on June 15.
Listen on ABC Classic FM

A copy of the program, including lyrics, and interview with Deborah Cheetham are on the MSO website.
‘Momentous’ Eumeralla: A dark past, a hopeful future.
Read the review from The Age by Maxim Boon on 16 June.


Little Yarns for Kids

Australia is full of diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations. From Gamilaroi to Yawuru, Palawa to Wadjigany, each mob has its own language, stories and culture.

Journey with us each week to learn language on country and have a little yarn. Listen here.

Annual National Reconciliation Week Oration

Presented by Anita Heiss

“The Reconciliation process is both mentally and emotionally exhausting. The heavy lifting of reconciliation is meant to be done by non-Indigenous people. But I can tell you that it is by and large done by us. There is NO excuse not to learn now, whatever your age.”

Dr Anita Heiss shares own truth about reconciliation at this year’s City of Melbourne Reconciliation Oration.
Listen here.

Resources and Events

The official Year of Indigenous Languages page includes an events page to keep track of events taking place in your local area and a resources page with access to a range of projects taking place across the globe.

Check out this list from Melbourne University.

Gambay: New First Languages map

To celebrate the UN Year of Indigenous Languages, First Languages Australia has launched their new and improved Gambay – First Languages Map

eNews layout by Julie Cattlin
Copyright © 2018 Reconciliation Victoria, All rights reserved.

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