ANTaR ACT – May 2017 update

Lots to cover this month – first updates on our meeting with the Minister and the ANZAC Day march, then lots of activities around National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week in late May/early June, and then our next monthly meeting on 5 June.

Meeting of ANTaR ACT and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs
ANTaR ACT welcomes the positive discussion between Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith, whose portfolio responsibilities include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, and ANTaR ACT Committee members Janet, Jeanette, Cherisse and Valerie on 5 May. We also would like to thank Ms Robyn Forester, Director of the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs for her attendance. The Minister and ANTaR ACT shared information about priorities and some upcoming activities, and we particularly note and welcome the Minister’s priorities to:

  • Reduce rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care and strengthen families
  • Address youth justice issues and impacts of intergenerational trauma.

ANTaR emphasised that these are also its local priorities. We also emphasised the value of Aboriginal controlled services wherever possible.

ANTaR ACT notes the Minister’s and ACT Government’s commitment to Justice Reinvestment and is pleased that a caseworker model and process has been decided on. We noted that the initial work is funded for 12 months and trust that it will be given longer-term funding as these are difficult issues that take time to turn round. We also look forward to zoning issues being resolved and the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm receiving funding and starting operations.

Photo shows Cherisse, Jeanette and Janet with the Minister (second from left).

ANZAC Day 2017
ANTaR ACT member, Rita Metzenrath, wrote a blog entry for AIATSIS ‘Protecting Country, Serving Nation’ reflecting on the 2017 ANZAC Day national ceremony march, which was led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans, serving personnel and descendants of the ‘Black Diggers’ who were only recognised for their service recently. It was the first time in Australia’s 107 year commemoration of ANZAC Day that they led the march. Read more here.

National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week 2017

National Reconciliation Week celebrates two major milestones in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history ‑ 27 May, the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and 3 June, the 25th anniversary of the High Court of Australia’s Mabo decision. For more information see the AIATSIS website.

There are a number of events in Canberra planned for Reconciliation Week – the list below is not complete and check the Reconciliation Australia website for updates.

In addition, the annual Winnunga National Sorry Day Bridge Walk will take place on Friday 26 May. Gather at Regatta Point at 10.30am, walk starts 10.45am at base of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge. This year’s Bridge Walk is dedicated to the memory of Steven Freeman who died in AMC on 27 May 2016, the day of the last Sorry Day Bridge Walk.

Mt Majura Walk with Dharawa Aboriginal Cultural Tour
To mark Reconciliation Week, Tyronne Bell of Dharawa Aboriginal Cultural Tours will lead a tour around Mount Majura on Sunday 4 June, 10am, at a special rate of $25 per adult and $10 per child.

At 888 metres, Mount Majura is the highest peak in suburban Canberra. It provides habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including a number of threatened species, as well as various opportunities for recreation. Highlights: bush foods; scar tree; artefacts and their traditional uses; scenic view of Mount Majura valley.

To register your interest in this tour, please contact us on or call 0408 573 151.

Yarramundi Markets
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre, Lady Denman Drive
12pm – 5pm, Friday 26 May
Many stalls including food and drinks, clothes, jewellery, handmade items, art, community sector and government – and ANTaR ACT – please come and say hello. Burrunju Aboriginal Art Gallery will be open.

National Museum of Australia: 1967 referendum panel discussion
6–7.30pm, Wednesday 24 May
Visions Theatre, Costs apply & bookings essential – more information here and bookings here.
This year marks 50 years since the 1967 referendum and the ‘yes’ vote in support of removing two references in the constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Join Paul Barclay from ABC RN Big Ideas and a panel of acclaimed guests to discuss this landmark event – which was preceded by ten years of civil rights campaigning – and ask the question ‘has change truly come, or is it coming still?’

Australian Senate Occasional Lecture Series: Russell Taylor AM
Indigenous Constitutional Recognition – 1967 Referendum and Today
12.15pm to 1.15pm, Friday 26 May
Theatre, Parliament House – admission free, no bookings required, more information here.
Mr Taylor’s lecture will include a short commentary on the history of campaigns for constitutional reform on Aboriginal issues leading up to 1967; a personal perspective on the immediate and longer term impact of the successful referendum; and finally a discussion of the challenges associated with Indigenous constitutional recognition currently facing the nation.
Mr Taylor is an Aboriginal Australian with extensive experience as an executive in the Australian Public Service. He recently completed an eight-year period as Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Referendum, Reconciliation and Recognition: 1967 and beyond
6:30pm, Friday 2 June, Albert Hall
To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 National Referendum, the Transport Canberra and City Services RAP Implementation Group, through Libraries ACT, has invited respected author, academic and social commentator Dr Anita Heiss to deliver a free public talk. Bookings through eventbrite here.

National Film and Sound Archive
In Conversation: Christine Anu
7.15 (bar from 6pm), Friday 2 June
ARC Cinema, $35, bookings here.
Enjoy a night of music, memories and conversation with Christine Anu. In this National Reconciliation Week event Christine will discuss her career, life and work as an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the community, as well as the importance of Indigenous languages in cultural identity. Plus, don’t miss a selection of special acoustic performances including songs from her award winning career.

National Gallery of Australia: Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial
Opening in Reconciliation Week and running from Friday 26 May – 10 September
Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial brings the works of 30 contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across the country into the national spotlight. The exhibition commemorates the 50th anniversary of 1967 Referendum and explores the ongoing resilience of Australia’s Indigenous people since first contact, through to the historical fight for recognition and ongoing activism in the present day.
For more information about the exhibition, click here.

There will be a number of events to coincide with the exhibition including artist and curator talks and a special forum entitled ‘The 67 Referendum: In conversation’. Dr Gary Foley and Judy Watson discuss and reflect the truths, powers, misnomers and setbacks throughout the span of the Referendum and up until now.
6pm – 8:30pm, Friday May 26 (bookings required, cost involved)
Details of all events are here.

ANU Exhibitions 50-50 and Wiwa Bábbarra
Friday 12 May – Saturday 3 June 3

50-50: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Australian National University
Location: School of Art & Design Gallery, information here.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, 50-50: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Australian National University considers the role of art in advancing Indigenous recognition, examining the ANU’s engagement with Indigenous Australians over the past half century.

Wiwa Bábbarra | Sacred Ground
Location: ANU School of Art & Design Foyer Space, information here.
Printed textiles from Bábbarra Women’s Centre Maningrida, Arnhem Land
The Bábbarra Women’s Centre is a meeting place for more than 12 language groups in the Maningrida region. Established in 1989, the centre provides a place to share knowledge and ideas. The women at Bábbarra design and produce exquisite hand-printed textiles that are sold world-wide. Each length of fabric is unique and tells the ancestral stories of Arnhem Land country and cultures. The designs are bold and elegant, but they are more than designs: these designs tell the stories of the lives of the Bábbarra women.

National Portrait Gallery
Highlights tours of the Collection
will focus on the stories of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Details here.
11:30am – 12:00pm, Saturday 27 May until Saturday 3 June

Portrait encounter: Woureddy and Trucaninny
1:00 – 2:00pm, Thursday 25 May
Bookings essential, details here – $7 includes tea and coffee

ANTaR ACT events

You can come and find us at a stall at a local event – we are hoping to be at the Yarramundi Markets on 26 May, the Boomanulla Raiders Community Family Day on 25 June, the NAIDOC Family Day on 2 July and the NAIDOC by the Lake on 8 July. Lots of great events in Canberra coming up.

The next ANTaR ACT monthly meeting will be held on Monday 5 June 6pm, at King O’Malleys – this time we will have a table in the front section rather than our usual room. We are hoping to have guests who will share information about the great things they are doing for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Canberra – look out for more information closer to the meeting.

Please email us at if any enquiries. All are welcome to our monthly meetings.

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