Talk is well and good but flags were also flying high and Shellharbour’s young were out in force walking the walk for reconciliation.
In fact about 200 students marched in the ninth annual School Flag Walk on Monday as part of the city’s Reconciliation Week celebrations.
The event at Little Park, Shellharbour Village saw students from 25 Shellharbour schools walk alongside members of the community to celebrate Indigenous culture.
Shellharbour Council’s Aboriginal community liaison officer Veronica Bird said this year’s event was especially significant as it marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision.
‘’It is great to see so many young kids here,’’ Mrs Bird said.
‘’Shellharbour City Council has long recognised first nation people’s struggles and journey towards true reconciliation.
‘’These young people [students] are our future generations.
‘’Reconciliation is ensuring that we all work together in relation to our journey, as far as our nationhood is concerned – and reconciliation is a wonderful way of achieving that.’’
The event also featured students participating in four cultural workshops including Sorry Day (Sea of Hands) and a language workshop.
Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said it was wonderful to see so many people of all ages and backgrounds take part in the ‘’very special ceremony’’.
‘’Standing here today makes me very proud to see the relationship council has with the local Aboriginal community,’’ Cr Saliba said.
‘’Events like today’s Reconciliation School Flag Walk go further to strengthen these community ties.
‘’Reconciliation Week itself is coordinated around two very significant days on the Australian calendar.
‘’This year’s event is especially significant, marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum giving Aboriginal residents the right to vote, and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo land rights decision.
‘’The High Court’s landmark judgement agreed with Mr Mabo’s view, and abandoned the idea that Australia had been empty of people when settled by the British.
‘’While there is a long way to go, it is landmark moments like the official apology from our Prime Minister [Kevin Rudd] several years ago, the Mabo Case and Bridge Walk that prove we are on the path to true reconciliation. On a local scale it is events like today’s Reconciliation School Flag Walk that lead the way and act as a reminder of what needs to be done to achieve full reconciliation.’’