ANTaR ACT – April 2017 update

Significant anniversaries in 2017

In the last bulletin, we outlined all the significant anniversaries happening this year – including 50 years since the referendum for first changes to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution, 25 years since the Mabo case overturning terra nullis and since Paul Keating’s Redfern Speech, and 20 years since the release of the 20 years since the Bringing Them Home report and the first Sea of Hands. We have now put extended information on our website about these anniversaries – read more here.

Looking at local Aboriginal heritage

The anniversary of the referendum is a key theme of the current Canberra and Region Heritage Festival: ‘…the 2017 festival theme ‘Questions & Change’ will focus on commemorating this historic event as we continue the national conversation around Indigenous inclusion, recognition and celebration of our unique cultural heritage.’

Events in the festival include:
Indigenous Plant Use Walk – May 3, Acton
The Power of a Voice: The Path to Reconciliation, Referendum and Land Rights – discover the artworks in Reconciliation Place – May 4, Parkes
Violet’s Park – the official launch of ‘Meeting Place,’ a commemorative artwork in recognition of Ngunnawal elder Violet Bulger – May 4, Marungal Avenue, Ngunnawal
Aboriginal Traditional Weaving Workshop – May 6, Australian National Botanic Garden ($160)
Unveiling Aboriginal interpretive signage for Theodore Grinding Grooves – May 6, Tuggeranong Hill Reserve, Christmas Street, Theodore
Bullan Murra (women’s pathways) restoration – May 7, Alexandrina drive, Yarralumla (opp. Canberra Yacht Club)

Find out more, including details and bookings, on the Heritage Festival website.

Also of interest in understanding the Aboriginal heritage in Canberra, you can now visit the Red Hill Camp where Aunty Matilda House camped with her family many years ago – find out more at the new Red Hill Camp website.

In the last issue, we mentioned the tours run by Dharwra Aboriginal Cultural Tours run by Tyronne Bell. You can read more about the tours in this ABC News article. Tyronne also contributed the story of Mununja the Butterfly for one of the new gardens in the National Arboretum. You can read more about this on the National Arboretum website here.

Also in Canberra

Coranderrk – a play at the Canberra Theatre (details here), 14-15 June


‘We will show the country that it will work.’ In 1881, the men and women of Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve had a simple and revolutionary goal: to continue the brilliant experiment in self-determination they had pioneered on the scrap of country left to them. But the law said they needed permission. They went head-to-head with the Aboriginal Protection Board at a Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry to be allowed to continue.

CORANDERRK recreates compelling history on stage. It revives the voices of all those, black and white, who fought for a better pact between the country’s oldest and newest inhabitants. This special production pays tribute to the resilience and adaptability of a people who rose to the challenge despite the odds.

ANTaR ACT events

The next ANTaR ACT monthly meeting will be held on Monday 8 May 6pm, at King O’Malleys, in the Snug Room behind the bar. At this meeting, the subgroup who are meeting with Rachel Stephen Smith, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, on Friday 5 May will report back. The issues to be raised by the subgroup will include incarceration rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT, activities around justice reinvestment and progress on the healing farm, as well as continuing concerns about the high rates of children in out-of-home care.

Note that we are now meeting on Mondays rather than Tuesdays, and we have moved back the May meeting a week. Please email us at if any enquiries. All are welcome to our monthly meetings.

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