On Friday 30 May 2014, the Boroondara Interfaith Network, in partnership with Wurundjeri Council, held a community event to celebrate Reconciliation Week at the Kew Billabong, Willsmere Reserve.
On a crisp yet sunny Autumn day, 50 adult community members (including parents and teachers from local schools, Boroondara Interfaith Network members, and members of the local community) and some young families (parents with children) attended the community gathering. In addition to community members, over 90 students from local schools also attended. Students represented Camberwell South Primary School, Ruyton Girls School, St Bede’s Primary School, St Michael’s Primary School and Auburn Secondary School.
Uncle Bill Nicholson, Wurundjeri Elder, gave an insightful presentation about the history and heritage of his people as the Traditional Owners of the land. He discussed the cultural meaning and history of the Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, which made the ceremony more meaningful for participants. He also presented on the way the Wurundjeri used Billabongs for hunting and gathering purposes, and the roles of men and women in traditional society. It was interesting to see the Wurundjeri Initiation possum skin cloak that Uncle Bill brought with him. Following the formal proceedings, participants enjoyed the BBQ and native plant give-away, and Uncle Bill stayed on to play ‘Marn Grook’ (possum skin football) and boomerang throwing with the children. The day’s proceedings were an educational and interactive opportunity for both the adult and student attendees present to participate in marking a culture of reconciliation and respect for the City’s indigenous heritage.
On behalf of the Boroondara Interfaith Network and the day’s attendees, we thank the City of Boroondara Parks and Garden’s team who assisted with the event set up, arranged Native plants for gifts, and ran the BBQ. We look forward to seeing you again at our next Interfaith event!