Reconciliation Victoria Newsletter December 2018

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this eNews may include images of persons who are deceased.
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Reconciliation News



To say we live in exciting times may be an understatement! Our new dynamic CEO, Diana David has hit the ground running, bringing to the organisation a critical Aboriginal perspective, as well as significant experience gained from working with government and the Treaty Commission.  We also recently welcomed three new Board members at our final celebratory Board Meeting held at MAYSAR.

The re-election of the Andrews Government means that it is full-steam ahead with the Victorian Treaty process and we look forward to rolling out phase two of our Treaty engagement project – aimed at building support within the non-Aboriginal community for Treaty.  We acknowledge the support and commitment of the outgoing Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins, and warmly welcome the appointment of the new Minister, Gavin Jennings.

Last week also saw the release of the final report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Recognition which (along the lines of our submission) backed an “Indigenous Voice to Parliament” and the establishment of a truth and reconciliation body. We encourage you to engage with the campaign to make the Voice a reality.

The Board and Staff at Reconciliation Victoria thank all of you who have organised and participated in events, attended rallies, written letters, signed petitions and joined us on our journey in other ways throughout the year.  2019 is going to be a massive year, full of potential for progressing reconciliation and moving towards Treaty.  We wish you all a restful, safe and enjoyable holiday season.

~ The RecVic Team





A new look at RecVic

Our new-look Board held its first meeting together at MAYSAR in late November, followed by the Board and staff end-of-year dinner, at which we welcomed new CEO Diana David, and three new members, and farewelled and thanked retiring Board members Uncle John Baxter, Melissa Brickell and Deb Chapman.

We also farewelled (in word and song) our much-loved and inspirational Statewide Coordinator, Erin McKinnon, who has taken up the role of CEO at Weenthunga Health Network.

Photo: Standing (L to R): John Farlow, Andrew Gunstone, Diana David, Keith Gove. Seated: Juanita Pope, Trevor Pearce, Aislinn Martin, Michelle Isles (and on screen Vicki Clark and Belinda Duarte).  Read more about the new Board members on our website.



Minister for Aboriginal Affairs steps down

Victorian Aboriginal Affair’s and Women’s Minister Natalie Hutchins has announced she will not recontest her cabinet position, to instead focus on family.

“I am proud to have been a part of a government that committed to treaty with the state’s traditional owners …” said Ms Hutchins.

RecVic congratulates Ms Hutchins for her support of reconciliation, self-determination and Treaty during her tenure. We welcome her appointment as the newly established Parliamentary Secretary for Treaty, and we also welcome the return of the Hon Gavin Jennings to the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio.

Photo: Ms Hutchins (centre) presenting 2017 HART Award to Mullagh Wills Foundation.

Read more



Call for meaningful partnership to Close the Gap


Peak Aboriginal bodies have repeated their call for a greater input into the Government’s refresh of its Closing the Gap strategy.

The group wants governments to hold off on plans to endorse new targets at the next COAG meeting in December and to agree instead to work on them with Aboriginal groups in a formal partnership.

Read more.




National crisis warning

For the second year in a row the report’s key finding is that without urgent and sustained action, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Out-of-Home Care (OOHC) will more than triple over the next 20 years.

The rate at which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are being removed from their families is an escalating national crisis.

Read more of the report.



We are saddened to learn of the passing of Dr Bonita Mabo AO.

Dr Mabo, the wife of land rights campaigner Eddie Mabo, was an activist and reconciliation advocate in her own right.

Our thoughts are with her family at this time.

Read about her legacy.



Inaugural Mollie Dyer Awards winners announced

In honour of its extraordinary founder, the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) last month launched three new annual awards honouring an Aboriginal community member, an Aboriginal employee in the sector, and an Aboriginal young person, for their contribution to Aboriginal child and family welfare, particularly children in out-of-home care.

According to VACCA’s CEO Prof. Muriel Bamblett AM, the Mollie Dyer Awards were established “to celebrate Aboriginal people’s excellent work in supporting Aboriginal children, young people and families to feel safe, be strong in their identity and connected to culture and their community across Victoria”. Read about the winners and finalists here



Any amount you give can bring a smile to the face of a child in Care or in one of VACCA’s programs.

Your support can help provide:
•    A present for a Child in care.
•    Extra assistance for struggling families who need help at Christmas time.
•    A Christmas present on behalf of a friend, family member or colleague as a life changing Christmas gift for a child in care.

The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) does amazing work to provide support to Aboriginal communities in a way that ensures Aboriginal self-determination, respect and cultural safety.

VACCA currently need to provide over 900 children with Christmas gifts. Children and young people in foster care, kinship care, residential care or in other VACCA programs all need support at Christmas.

Please donate here!



Looking for a Christmas gift?


Check out The Torch online catalogue for options for Christmas gifts this year – a great way to support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.Here’s a selection of the wonderful gifts available.
Check out the complete gallery here.



The Torch 2019 Calendar is also a great gift


2019 calendars featuring artworks from 12 men and women participating in the Indigenous Arts in Prisons and Community Program.

All artists receive a licensing fee and proceeds go towards running the program.

The large horizontal calendar featured above is $20 (including postage within Australia). Order your calendar now through The Torch online shop


Another Christmas gift idea is the much awaited My Deadly Culture Diary from VACCA.

Also for sale are tote bags, cushion covers, toys and books, as well as an excellent selection of learning posters.

Here’s a selection.


Purchase these VACCA gifts hereThe Koorie Heritage Trust at Federation Square, and OXFAM also stock a wide range of Indigenous crafts, artworks and products.



Djirri Djirri Dance Group

Djirri Djirri, the only Victorian dance group to attend Dance Rites at the Sydney Opera House last weekend, and the only all-women’s group to make it into the finals, took out the inaugural “Rights of Passage” Award, which comes with $4,000 in prize money.

The Djirri Djirri Dance Group consists of Wurundjeri women from the Kulin nation.  Read more



We are proud to present our 2017-18 Annual Report, which provides a snapshot of our work and highlights the progress of the Reconciliation Movement across Victoria.

Download here



Victorian Treaty Update

The Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission is continuing to build the pathway to treaties, including the establishment of the Aboriginal Representative Body, after the recent Victorian election.

The Commission will continue to set up elections for the Representative Body in mid-2019. “I think community can feel excited about what’s coming up,” said the Commissioner, Jill Gallagher AO.

Eleanor Bourke and Dan Turnbull were last month elected co-chairs of the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group. In the next few weeks, the Commission will release details of recent feedback on the proposed Representative Body model.

For further information including Aboriginal perspectives on Treaty in Victoria visit our website  Deadly Story have also published this informative explainer on Treaty and Self-Determination.


Talkin’ Treaty

Don’t miss this panel discussion, featuring Mick Harding, Jill Gallagher, Marcus Stewart, Janine Coombs, Richard Frankland and Lidia Thorpe – discussing all the issues around Treaty in Victoria.  Find out more

NITV – Thursday Night – December 6, at 8-30 pm!!



Parliamentary Committee backs Indigenous Voice to Parliament

The final report of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples was presented in the Federal Parliament on 29 November.  The Report backed an Indigenous “Voice to Parliament” but recommended the proposal be further developed before it is considered as a referendum proposal to be enshrined in the constitution. It also recommended the establishment of a truth and justice commission. Read more

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples welcomed the recommendations and called on the Government to enact them. Labor senator Patrick Dodson says he is hopeful a referendum will happen in the first term should there be a Shorten government after the next election.  Read more

Following the report’s release Indigenous activists announced they are planning “to campaign like its 1967” to bring on a referendum.  Read more

The report is available here



Violet Town & District Recognise Group recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to host an event in Violet Town on the 26th January, 2019: First Nations Voice:  Let’s hear it!

The event will be an open-air picnic with a stage for First Nations speakers and performers to talk about what a First Nations Voice means to them.

They need your help.  Find out how you can support this activity





National Reconciliation Action Plan Conference

Wednesday 5 – Thursday 6 December

Over 1.5 million people in Australia study or work in an organisation with a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). As the first national conference of its kind, this event provides a forum to explore the RAP program and share examples of best-practice.

9am – 4.30pm
Richmond Football Club, Swinburne Centre, Punt Road Oval, Yarra Park, Richmond



Conference themes
•  RAPs in the reconciliation journey
•  Sharing stories
•  Best practices
•  Self-determinationMore information on the Keynote speakers
Dr Jackie Huggins AM
Professor Tom Calma AM
Stan GrantInfo and Registration



The Embodied Landscape

In the remote Wimmera region of Victoria, two ancient cultures – the local Wotjobaluk dancers and Javanese dancers from Pelem – collaborate through dance. On Friday night, the Wotjobaluk Dance Group will perform, with dancing from Ben Muir, Lochie Marks, Sonny Secombe and John Secombe to celebrate the opening of an exhibition that documents this extraordinary encounter, through video and photography.

Wednesday 5 – Saturday 16 December
Video and Photographic Exhibition – 10am – 6pm

Opening Night –  Friday 7 December  6pm – 10pm
Opening Night Performance  7pm

Testing Grounds 1 City Road, Southbank
Read more
Check out this video of the Wotjobaluk Dance Group




Thursday 6 December

Commemorate the walk of Aboriginal human rights advocate William Cooper to the German consulate 80 years ago to the day, with a protest note from his Australian Aborigines League (AAL) over Kristallnacht.

Cooper, a Yorta Yorta Elder and the AAL’s founder, was incensed about the Nazi pogrom against Germany and Austria’s Jews. However he and his small delegation were barred from the consulate. That Cooper and his tiny Indigenous community stood up for Jews under Nazi oppression in a largely indifferent world, has forged a bond between Jews and the Aboriginal community.


6.30pm  Opening Ceremony and Remembrance Walk
Separation Memorial, Flagstaff Gardens
8pm  Smoking Ceremony and Chanukian Lighting
Peppercorn Park, Alexandra GardensMore information



This conference aims to bring together new approaches to colonial Australia across the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Colonialism puts a range of practices and discourses into play: violent encounters, dispossession, trauma, ‘development’, ‘civilisation’, governance, trade, and so on.
Keynote Speakers: Professor Tim Bonyhady (ANU), Penny Edmonds (Uni of Tasmania), Bruce Pascoe, and Professor Lynette Russell (Monash Uni).Monday 10 – Tuesday 11 December
University of MelbourneInformation and Registration



MTalks—BLAKitecture: Indigenising education

MPavilion’s second annual BLAKitecture forum brings together Indigenous built environment practitioners on the Yaluk-ut Weelam land of the Boon Wurrung people.

The forum aims to centralise Indigenous voices in conversations about architecture, the representation of histories, the present state and the future of our built environments. BLAKitecture is curated by MPavilion’s program consultant Sarah Lynn Rees.

Monday, 10 December  6.15 – 8.15pm
MPavilion, Queen Victoria Gardens, St Kilda Rd.

Find out more






Until Friday 14 December

Wil, a once desperate alcoholic, returns to Broome with a radical plan to break the cycle of booze he was once caught up in. Claudia runs the Centre and is sceptical of outsiders with big ideas but takes a chance on Wil. On a chaotic night, as the usual suspects stagger into the stifling heat of the centre, Wil’s unorthodox method is revealed. But he has a much deeper connection to the town and its past than anyone could have imagined, including himself.

Starring Uncle Jack Charles, Mark Coles Smith, Jim Daly, Julie Forsyth, Margaret Harvey, Alex Menglet and Mark Wilson and directed by Iain Sinclair.

Read article from The Age.    More information.



Trivia Fundraiser for ILF

Brian Nankervis hosts the annual Trivia night to raise funds to support literacy programs run by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation for children in remote Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia. As well as trivia, there will be other fundraising fun and opportunities to support the ILF.

Wednesday 12 December  6:pm
Fitzroy Town Hall, 201 Napier St, Fitzroy

Bookings and info



Birrarung Wilam (River Walk)

The Koorie Heritage Trust’s Birrarung Wilam Walk takes you through Federation Square and down to the Birrarung Wilam (Common Ground) Aboriginal art installations, experiencing the Aboriginal history of the Birrarung Marr (beside the river of mists) and Aboriginal Peoples of the Kulin Nation.

Every Thursday and Friday from 1pm to 2pm
Bookings essential     More information



Saturday, 26 January 2019

The legendary singer-songwriter Archie Roach joins Briggs for this very special event. An icon in Australian music, Archie’s songwriting has been a vehicle for sharing stories of his life and his people with audiences in Australia and across the world since the early ‘90s.

Taking to the Twilights stage as the show begins is Alice Skye. She might call herself ‘the new kid on the block’, but has already made her mark on the local scene thanks to her melodic and self-assured debut album ‘Friends With Feelings’.

All proceeds help Zoos Victoria fight to save the Eastern Barred Bandicoot from extinction.
Melbourne Zoo, Elliott Avenue, Melbourne  5.30 – 9.30pm

Information and tickets



We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waters of Victoria.
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season of butterflies

Key Dates

10 December 1992: Prime Minister Paul Keating delivers Redfern Speech.

26 January 1972: Aboriginal Tent Embassy established across from Parliament House, ACT.

26 January 2019: Share the Spirit Festival and Belgrave Survival Day (See January eNews for more info).

18 Februaray 2019: Nominations open for the 2019 HART Awards.





Koorie Art Show 2018

Now in its sixth year, the Koorie Heritage Trust’s annual Koorie Art Show showcases the diverse talent of Victoria’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in one inclusive space. In our biggest year yet, we are exhibiting over 190 works from over 100 artists.

Join us this Saturday 8 December for the 2018 Koorie Art Show official launch and award announcement from 2pm-4pm, level 1, Yarra Building Federation Square.

There will be live music from Kee’ahn Music and refreshments by Mabu Mabu.

Everyone is welcome to attend!

For more information check out the KHT website

Exhibition runs: 8 December 2018 – 24 February 2019



Confined 10 Exhibition

The Torch is recognising 10 years of exhibiting artworks by Indigenous artists currently in or recently released from prisons in Victoria.

Confined is the key annual event of The Torch’s Indigenous Arts in Prisons and Community program and a central event of the Yalukut Weelam Ngargee, Melbourne’s longest running Indigenous arts and cultural festival.

Now in its 10th year, the Confined exhibition provides Indigenous offenders and ex-offenders with an opportunity to connect with the community and to promote the practice of culture in rehabilitation. It also serves to highlight the issue of over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system.

Dates: Wed 30 January – Wed 27 February 2019
Time: Mon, Tues, Wed, Friday 8:30am -5pm. Thursday 8:30am – 7.00pm. Saturday 12pm – 4pm

Official launch: Thurs 31 January 2019, 6.00pm – 8.00pm
Venue: Carlisle Street Arts Space, 99A Carlisle Street, St Kilda
Cost: FREE

Find out more

Image: Journey of the Kookaburra, Sam, Wirangu peoples, 2018




Design Roots
H’Art of the Rhythm

The third iteration of Kaiela Arts Design Roots project, H’Art of Rhythm, will present an array of new works by Kaiela Arts artists in response to the theme of Rhythm and Heart. We will also present two new screen printed fabric designs at this exhibition.

Rhythm refers to movement or procedure with uniform or patterned recurrence of a beat, accent, or the like –  the pattern of regular or irregular pulses caused in music by the occurrence of strong and weak melodic and harmonic beats – double rhythm; triple rhythm and measured movement, as in dancing.

Until Saturday 22 December
Kaiela Arts, 137-139 High Street, Shepparton

Phone 03 5821 9842 or Email

More information.



The Canoe Project – Stories from the Collection

This collection display brings together objects from the Koorie Heritage Trust collection and Victorian Aboriginal community members to share the historical, cultural and social significance of our collection items in their lives, their practice and their community.

The recorded films and the collection items they relate to will be installed in our four-metre long canoe table on Level 3 of the Trust building in Federation Square.

Until 25th December

Read more




Evolution: Torres Strait Islander Masks

This exhibition highlights the significance of masks in Torres Strait Islander ceremonies and culture and their evolution to the present day through the commissioned works of eight artists from the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula area. It was developed by the National Museum of Australia in partnership with the Gab Titui Centre and its parent body, the Torres Strait Regional Authority.

Until 28 January
Bunjilaka Melbourne Museum, Melbourne Museum, Nicholson Street, Carlton

More information



For Country, For Nation

When the First World War broke out, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had few rights, poor living conditions, and were not allowed to enlist in the war effort. Despite this, many Indigenous people wanted to serve in defence of Australia, and were willing to change their names, birth locations, heritage and nationality in an effort to do so.

Developed in collaboration with consultant curator Amanda Jane Reynolds, elders, artists and families, For Country, for Nation brings these moving stories and voices to life through art, dance, music, objects and text.

An Australian War Memorial Touring Exhibition.

Until 9 December
Melbourne Museum
11 Nicholson Street, Carlton

Photo: A young Reg Saunders surrounded by his mates of the 2/7th Battalion, AIF in Queensland in 1943 (AWM 057894).

More information






Free Event. 
RSVP essential: 9744 9564 /



Another Country – Encore screening due to popular demand

Legendary Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil has spent his adult life trying to navigate his way through two very different cultures: that of his Yolngu people and that of the prevailing Australian culture. In Another Country, he gives us first-hand insight into the confusions and chaos that occur in the clash between these cultures.

Friday 7th Dec, 6.30pm
Library at the Dock

Find out more





An Indigenous ‘Voice to Parliament’ would strengthen Australia’s democracy

A constitutionally-enshrined Indigenous’Voice to Parliament’ would strengthen Australia’s democracy in a time of global uncertainty, journalist Stan Grant has declared, suggesting it was a profound expression of confidence in the country’s political system and would soothe bitter social divisions.

Delivering the Annual Hawke Lecture at the University of South Australia on Friday night, Grant backed the Uluru Statement from the Heart, issued by a gathering of Indigenous Australians in May 2017, as a “high watermark” for Australian liberalism that sought to write a new social contract for the nation.

Read the Sydney Morning Herald article here.




Focus shifts to Treaty

The second phase of the Deadly Questions campaign, launched in September, will focus on the important role of Treaty in Victoria and what Treaty could mean for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians.

Explore and ask your Deadly Question today here and join the broader conversation with Aboriginal Victorians.

More information



“The republic is an Aboriginal issue”

Megan Davis argues that recognition must be at the heart of constitutional reform.

“As a republican I’m disinclined to support a “republicanism” that shrinks itself. It represents an old Australia. Too scared to dream big. Too scared to sell the big picture to the people.”

Read here



Evidence of frontier battles unearthed in Queensland

Archaeologists have discovered hundreds of paramilitary Native Mounted Police camps across Queensland, shedding light on Australia’s violent frontier history. Professor Bryce Barker, an archaeological anthropologist from the University of Southern Queensland, is one of the leaders of a research project investigating the evidence of Native Mounted Police life.

More information

Photo: White officers and Aboriginal troopers at a camp in North Queensland




Bunjilaka: First Peoples Tours

Experience the vibrant cultures of Indigenous Australia and see the most significant Aboriginal cultural collection in the world. Your expert guide will take you through the award-wining First Peoples exhibition, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Milarri Gardens. Share insight into the rich traditions of performance, storytelling and artwork.

Weekdays 2 – 3.30pm
Until 31 December

Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum, Nicholson Street, Carlton

Information and Tickets



A real history of Aboriginal Australians, the first agriculturalists

Indigenous writer and anthologist Bruce Pascoe draws on first-hand accounts from colonial journals to dispel the myth that Aboriginal people were hunters and gatherers and “did nothing with the land that resembled agriculture”.

In this powerful TEDx talk, Pascoe demonstrates a radically different view of Australian history that we all need to know – one that has the potential to change the course of Australians’ relationship with the land.

View the talk here



Talkfest: Indigenous Knowledge

What does challenging the past of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people mean for the present?

With his 2014 book Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe presented robust evidence that entrenched assumptions about Aboriginal hunter-gatherer societies were false.

He joins writer and academic Tony Birch to expand on the book’s research findings.

And medical anthropologist and Aboriginal health advisor Gregory Phillips explores ways in which can we achieve a deeper understanding of Australia’s Indigenous history and knowledge.

Talkfest is co-produced by the Wheeler Centre and ABC RN.

Download here



Maggolee – here in this place

The Maggolee website, developed by Reconciliation Victoria, includes information on policy and programs, protocols and cultural awareness, Traditional Owner groups and local Aboriginal organisations, Aboriginal languages, key local contacts, news and events.

It contains information about each of the 79 Victorian local government areas, and about actions councils can take across key function areas to build closer relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and to progress reconciliation.

Maggolee has also proven to be a useful resource for teachers, educators and the wider community.




Ngaga-dji (hear me) captures the voices and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Victoria’s youth justice system. Ngaga-dji shares a vision and solutions for a Victoria that supports Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander children to thrive in their culture and communities.

Read the full article


We do not need a special envoy, we need our leaders to listen

by Luke Pearson

At a time when Indigenous voices have been stifled and ignored more than any time in recent history; a time when many Indigenous people are calling for a Treaty, or at the very least for A Voice To Parliament in an effort to have a greater say over issues that affect us, our new PM makes his first gesture in Indigenous Affairs based on party politics and not on what is in the best interest of Indigenous peoples.

Read the full article


Is Australia a racist country?

by Luke Pearson

It’s a contentious question, and one that has no easy answer. Racism is insidious. It impacts on people’s health, their education, housing and employment opportunities, and their sense of self and safety living in Australia. It isn’t just words and hurt feelings.

Read the full article



History Timeline Relaunched

Understanding where we come from helps us shape a better future.

Deadly Story is proud to announce the relaunch of its history timeline. Follow the link for articles about key moments that have shaped Aboriginal Victoria.

Check it out here

eNews layout by Julie Cattlin




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