ANTaR ACT Newsletter – May 2024

Reconciliation Week is coming up soon – this newsletter covers the many events happening in Canberra, including the National Sorry Day Bridge Walk on Friday 24 May, and the Reconciliation Day community event on Monday 27 May at Commonwealth Park.

To begin, we highlight our joint work with Active Democracy Bean on a campaign leading to the ACT election on 19 October 2024.

ANTaR ACT Organising Group update

We had a productive planning day in April. ANTaR ACT and Active Democracy Bean have agreed to work together in the lead-up to the ACT election to highlight what Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people are calling for in the ACT: real actions and real commitments, leading to real change. It’s time for Indigenous-led solutions in the ACT, and to get beyond the talk to achieve outcomes that will make a difference.

We call for concrete commitments from all candidates to listen to, and enact, the priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT.

The next meeting of the ANTaR ACT organising group will be at 6pm on Monday 3 June (note a week earlier then usual, due to the public holiday on the second Monday). If you would like to join us and be involved in our ongoing advocacy and actions, please email and we will send you the details.

Active Democracy Bean: Campaign Information Session

Active Democracy Bean will be holding a Campaign Information Session for their supporters on 26 May. ADB’s focus is on Bean, however ANTaR ACT supporters in other electorates are welcome to attend.

The session will be held on Sunday 26 May from 3-5pm at the Tuggeranong Community Centre. You can register here.

The initial campaign name is: Beyond the Talk – Indigenous Led Solutions Now!  The focus is on priorities identified by the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body (ATSIEB) and issues that emerged at the 2024 David Hunter Memorial Lecture. There will be ongoing consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups and organisations over the next 3 months to refine these further.

Active Democracy Bean logo - hills, people

This session is for anyone who would like to be involved, so please share the event with your networks.

The session will give you the background on agreed priorities and equip you to participate in the campaign. Support and easy to use tools for engaging with your elected representatives and candidates will be provided.

For further information about the session, please contact either Jane Clifton Bassett at or Cath Blunt at

Events coming up

Book launch: If Everyone Cared Enough

Wednesday 15 May, 6pm, National Library of Australia
Margaret Lilardia Tucker MBE was a significant Aboriginal activist and one of the first Aboriginal women to publish for mainstream audiences. Her landmark autobiography – If Everyone Cared – is set to be republished by NLA Publishing in a new edition titled If Everyone Cared Enough. This nationally significant publication aims to reinstate the original words of Aunty Marge, as she was affectionately known, and shed light on the previously omitted descriptions of her culture and personal experiences. Join members of Margaret Tucker’s family for a celebration of Margaret’s life and work.
Free, bookings essential, more information: Book Launch: If Everyone Cared Enough by Margaret Tucker | National Library of Australia (

Book launch: Growing up Torres Strait Islander

Sunday 19 May, 3pm, Muse, East Hotel, 69 Canberra Ave, Griffith
This groundbreaking collection provides a unique perspective on the Torres Strait Islander experience. Hear from emerging and established writers from both today and the recent past, including Eddie Mabo, Thomas Mayo, Lenora Thaker, Ellie Gaffney, Jillian Boyd-Bowie, Aaron Fa’Aoso and Jimi Bani. These and many more storytellers, mentors, traditional owners, doctors and teachers from the Torres Strait share their joy, culture, good eating, lessons learned and love of family, language and Country. Meet the editor Samantha Faullkner, in conversation with MARION Chair, Emma Batchelor.
More information and bookings: Growing Up Torres Strait Islander in Australia — Muse (

On Country: Our Story, Our Strength

Monday 20 May to Wednesday 22 May, 12 – 3pm, at The Gallery, Level 2, Cultural Centre Kambri (ANU Building 153)
On Country: Our Story, Our Strength is an immersive exhibition showcasing the celebration of Aboriginal women who are, or have been, employed through entry level programs in the Australian Public Service (APS). These immersions will be shared through On Country stories of renewal, using various media such as paint, song, music, poetry, photography, smell, sight, sound bite, vision, touch and drawing.
More information: On Country: Our Story, Our Strength | Australian National University (

First Nations women in public policy lecture with Prof Megan Davis

Wednesday 22 May, 6-7pm, followed by refreshments, at T2 Theatre, ANU Kambri Cultural Centre
In this important lecture, Professor Davis will explore the political process for justice and human rights for First Nations Australians in the wake of the referendum defeat. More than 6 million Australians voted YES for constitutional recognition. The Uluru Dialogue is not over.
Registrations essential (Note – sold out but can join waitlist – will not be streamed online): First Nations women in public policy lecture with Prof Megan Davis | Australian National University (

Meet the author – Bruce Pascoe

Wednesday 22 May, 6-7pm, ANU, Cultural Centre Kambri (ANU Building 153)
Bruce Pascoe and Lyn Harwood will be in conversation with Bill Gammage on their new book, Black Duck . A Year at Yumburra , a personal reflection on life, Country and the consequences of Dark Emu through six seasons on Bruce Pascoe’s farm.
More information and bookings: Meet the author – Bruce Pascoe | Humanitix.

National Sorry Day Bridge Walk

Friday 24 May, 10am, meet at Regatta Point
Join Winnunga and the Healing Foundation to pay respect to Stolen Generations survivors and commemorate the history of forcible removals and its ongoing impacts.
Walk to commence at 10.30. Welcome to Country & Smoking Ceremony plus entertainment, lunch and refreshments provided.
More information: see Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services | Facebook.

Tjaabi–Flood Country

Friday 24 May, 7-8pm, at The Vault, building 8/1 Dairy Rd, Fyshwick
Tjaabi–Flood Country is a contemporary intercultural music and theatre performance led by Ngarluma man Patrick Churnside. Ten years in the making in the Pilbara, Tjaabi–Flood Country captures the urgencies of the 21st Century as the globe warms and the climate changes. Patrick captures the many cultural and ecological pressures facing Aboriginal people in places like the Pilbara in the face of ever-increasing pressures for new minerals, rare earth, and more ore. He does so through breathtaking music, profoundly personal narrative, and humour that cuts to the bone.
More information and bookings: Tjaabi–Flood Country at The Vault | Humanitix.

Reconciliation Day community event

Monday 27 May, 10am – 3pm, Commonwealth Park (** note new venue **)
Join a free family-friendly event showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, food, music and entertainment as part of National Reconciliation Week celebrations.
Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2024 is Now More Than Ever.  Be part of the conversation and activities and learn about our shared histories and cultures, to gain a deeper understanding of our national story and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in this special Canberra community event.

Reconciliation storytime

Daily, Monday 27 to Friday 31 May, 10am, National Archives of Australia
Join us for an interactive session that celebrates Indigenous Australian culture through storytelling, performance, and craft. Visitors will have the opportunity to get hands-on and create their own scary Bunyip, using a variety of craft materials. This event is suitable for early learners from 2 to 6 years of age. (Babies are also welcome!)
More information and bookings: Reconciliation storytime |

First Nations Experiences of Democracy Tour

Daily, Monday 27 May to Monday 3 June, 2pm, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
On this 45-minute tour you will hear stories of how First Nations Australians have created change. Learn about the Wiradjuri elders who travelled 150kms to attend the opening of Old Parliament House. Hear about the activists who campaigned for a voice in Federal Parliament and the accomplishments of Neville Bonner, the first Aboriginal Australian to be elected to parliament. Visit heritage spaces including the Prime Minister’s Office and the Senate Chamber and learn about the contributions of activists like Wenten Rubuntja, Charlie Perkins and Faith Bandler.
More information (bookings not required): First Nations Experiences of Democracy Tour – Reconciliation Australia and Museum Of Australian Democracy At Old Parliament House (

ARTIST TALK: Materiality – Paul House

Wednesday 29 May, 12–1pm, Canberra Museum & Gallery, 176 London Cct, Canberra
Join Paul House as he tells stories of the beautiful cultural objects he has created using glass rather than traditional materials. Paul acknowledges his matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Matilda House-Williams and his grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge. He recognises diverse First Nations ancestries from the southeast Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Kamberri (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.
More information and bookings: ARTIST TALK: Materiality – Reconciliation Week (Paul House) | Humanitix

Curator’s guide to Voices / Dhuniai

Thursday 30 May, 12-1 pm, National Archives of Australia, Kings Avenue
In celebration of Reconciliation Week and this year’s theme Now More Than Ever, take a journey through the history of the Australian Constitution and discover the different voices who have shaped our nation.
The permanent exhibition embraces dialogue about historical and ongoing attempts to create change and the troubled history of constitutional discrimination against First Australians. This event is free for NAA Members.
For more information and bookings: Curator’s guide to Voices / Dhuniai |

HORIZON – Bangarra Dance Theatre

Thursday 18 – Saturday 20 July, at the Canberra Theatre
Horizon is a double bill opening with Kulka by Bangarra alum Sani Townson, followed by the primary piece, The Light Inside, choreographed by Bangarra alumnus Deborah Brown and Māori choreographer and Arts Laureate Moss Te Ururangi Patterson.
For more information and bookings: Horizon | Canberra Theatre Centre

Tasting Australia with Adam Shipp: Kennedy Garden tours and tea

Friday 2 and Saturday 3 August, National Museum of Australia
Enjoy the sights and scents of the season as Adam Shipp (Wiradjuri) of Yurbay Consultancies shares his passion for native plants. Each tour finishes with the opportunity to sample some of the flavours found in the Kennedy Garden and around the Canberra region.
For more information and bookings: Tasting Australia with Adam Shipp | National Museum of Australia (

Vincent Namatjira: Australia in Colour

National Gallery of Australia, until 21 July 2024 | Free with ticket
This is the first survey exhibition of acclaimed Western Aranda artist Vincent Namatjira, charting his career, revealing the power of his painting and the potency of his words. Renowned for producing paintings laden with dry wit, Namatjira has established himself in the past decade as a celebrated portraitist and a satirical chronicler of Australian identity. His paintings offer a wry look at the politics of history, power and leadership from a contemporary Aboriginal perspective.
For more information and bookings: Vincent Namatjira Australia in colour (

ANTaR ACT wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which Canberra is situated, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people. We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We would also like to acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may visit this area.

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