ANTaR ACT – September 2018 bulletin

We hope you can join us to hear Adjunct Professor Muriel Bamblett AM deliver the 2018 David Hunter Memorial Lecture on Tuesday 9 October, tackling the issues around the high rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care. More details below. This bulletin also contains information about a range of other happenings in Canberra, as well as petitions you can support.

2018 David Hunter Memorial Lecture

The high number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care, both in ACT and nationally, has been a focus for ANTaR ACT this year. We are very pleased that a leading figure raising concerns nationally, Adjunct Professor Muriel Bamblett AM, has agreed to deliver our 2018 David Hunter Memorial Lecture. Muriel Bamblett is a Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung woman who has been employed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency since 1999.

To provide a local perspective, Fran Crowe and Selina Walker will share personal observations from their experiences around out-of-home care in Canberra.

The focus on out-of-home care is particularly timely given that the Steering Committee for Our Booris, Our Way has recently released its Interim Report on the Review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the ACT child protection system. As reported by the Canberra Times, preliminary recommendations include that cases involving Aboriginal kids be prioritised and given to workers with “demonstrated cultural competency”.

The lecture will be held at 6pm, Tuesday 9 October 2018; please join us for refreshments from 5.30pm. The venue is Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, 15 Blackall Street, Barton. No need to RSVP – just come along.

More information about the lecture here and more information about David Hunter and the past lectures in his memory is here.

Petitions you can support

There are two important petitions you can sign to show support to support the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at national and local levels.

Nationally: ANTaR National has a petition: Tony Abbott is Not Our Special Envoy. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from across Australia have understandably expressed their dismay and frustration at such a decision. A Government that has repeatedly committed to the principle of ‘working with, not doing to’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have once again made a decision without any consultation or advice from the people it affects. This is your opportunity, as one of the millions of Australians that want to see a fair go for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to make it clear that Tony Abbott is not our ‘Special Envoy’.

Locally: Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services is seeking signatures on a petition to support the right of the Aboriginal community to self-determination and self-management and to see the restoration of Boomanulla Oval and return of the Oval to Aboriginal community control and management. You can sign the petition at, or find more information and printable copies of the petition on their website.

Coming up

UNDRIP 11th Anniversary Free Community Screening: AFTER THE APOLOGY
ACT Human Rights Commission
5.00-7.30pm Thursday 13 September
Visions Theatre, National Museum of Australia
In 2016 the ACT Human Rights Act 2004 was amended to reflect UNDRIP articles 25 and 31 by inserting section 27(2) to explicitly recognise the distinct cultural rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Dr Helen Watchirs, ACT Human Rights Commission President, will chair a panel discussion with Barb Causon (Our Booris, Our Way Steering Committee Chair), Rod Little (National Congress Co-Chair) and Jodie Griffiths-Cook (ACT Public Advocate and Children and Young People Commissioner).
No charge but please register here.

The Season
Thursday 13 – Saturday 15 September
The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre
$30-$69, book your tickets here
Once a year in Tasmania, Aboriginal men and women hunt mutton birds to sell for their meat, oil and feathers. According to a Dreamtime story, these birds flew down from the moon. Their captors are known as moonbird people.
Pakana writer Nathan Maynard – a local Tasmanian and moon-birder himself – delves into the lives of the practitioners in this impressive debut play. The Season follows the raucous, loveable Duncans on their annual pilgrimage to Dog Island in the Bass Strait. There, they harvest mutton birds, so called for the gamey taste of their flesh. (Summary from the Guardian)

AIATSIS: The Russell Taylor Oration
5pm, Wednesday 19 September
AIATSIS Stanner Room, 51 Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula
The 2018 Russell Taylor Oration is presented by Wiradjuri woman Katrina Fanning and is part of AIATSIS’ yearlong celebration of the 2018 NAIDOC theme ‘Because of Her, we Can!’. The Oration celebrates the achievements and contributions of senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in the Public Service as a way to inspire the next wave of leaders.
RSVP here.

Bush Tucker
10am, Saturday 22 September
Come along for an exciting morning with Wiradjuri man Adam Shipp, who will show us a range of different plants found around the region and their use as food and medicine by the traditional owners of the land.
Bookings essential: book your tickets here.

Giiyong Festival
10am to 10.30pm, Saturday 22 September
At Jigamy Farm, located halfway between Pambula and Eden, on the Sapphire Coast.
Giiyong (pronounced GUY-YOONG) is a one day multi-arts festival, celebrating traditional and contemporary Aboriginal culture. It is the first such event held within the Yuin Nation.
Festival entry is FREE. Click here to register and donate to help with planning and delivering an awesome event. Click here for more information about the festival.
There are cultural demonstrations such as weaving, shellwork, traditional cooking, didge making, wood burning and more. There are dance groups, cultural ceremonies, films, art and history exhibitions. The Arts Market will feature a range of amazing stalls with beautiful Aboriginal art and craft from around the region. You can spend the whole day, or tailor your visit to suit your needs. The music line-up features some of Australia’s finest musicians.

Docker River Band with Mikelangelo
7pm, Friday 28 September
Smiths Alternative,76 Alinga Street, Civic
$40-$50, bookings here
Docker River Band hail from Kaltukatjara (Docker River) close to the border of WA in the APY Lands in the Northern Territory. They are the standout musicians from a community of talented artists, and can hold their own on any stage with their dynamic desert reggae style. The group sing in their local language, Pitjantjatjara, inspired by the cliffs and water holes, the quiet red earth and spinifex, the robust gum trees and vivid bird life that are part of Docker River, NT.
Docker River Band were unearthed by Grow the Music in 2017 and are a four-piece taking their maiden voyage to the East Coast to play at Giiyong Festival in NSW, and Canberra for one night only. They will collaborate with artists from the south coast, including Gabadoo, Warren Foster and Chelsy Atkins. Together with the Docker River Band, these artists will feature at this show with Mikelangelo.

Indigenous Cultural Tours: Bush Tucker Forage
10.30am, Saturday 29 September (also 20 October and 24 November)
National Gallery of Australia (NGA)
$35-$40, more information here, and bookings here.
Explore the gardens of the NGA with a local Aboriginal guide and learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through bush tucker foraging. Discover fascinating stories as you tour the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander galleries.

NGA Annual Lecture: The Aboriginal Memorial
6pm, Thursday 11 October
James O’Fairfax Theature, National Gallery of Australia
Djon Mundine OAM, activist, writer, commentator and concept curator for The Aboriginal Memorial delivers this year’s Annual Lecture.
This is being held in conjunction with the Aboriginal Memorial Anniversary Symposium, Friday 12 and Saturday 13 October. The symposium will focus on the memorial’s past and ongoing significance. In association with the University of Melbourne and the Power Institute of the University of Sydney.
For more information, see the NGA website (details and symposium registration coming soon).

Exhibitions around Canberra

AIATSIS Reading Room Display: The Kerry Reed-Gilbert collection
A new display has opened in the AIATSIS Reading Room featuring Aboriginalia from the Kerry Reed-Gilbert collection. Kerry Reed-Gilbert is a Wiradjuri elder, poet, writer, activist, artist and photographer living in Canberra. In 2016, AIATSIS acquired her extensive collection of decorative domestic items that depict Aboriginal people or use Aboriginal motifs. The collection includes plates, figurines, badges, ashtrays, prints, and velvet paintings. Where others may see racialised stereotypes, Reed-Gilbert sees beauty, strength and pride in the people depicted in her collection.
More information here.

Unfinished business: A photographic exhibition that tells 30 stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with disability.
Canberra Museum and Gallery
Until Sunday 23 September; more information here.

Because of Her, We Can…! Celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
Belconnen Arts Centre, Arts Lounge
In recognition and celebration of this year’s NAIDOC theme, Because of Her, We Can, we invited members of the community to acknowledge any of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women who have been an important part of their lives. These women are their Elders, mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters, daughters, colleagues and friends, with entries coming from all ages and cultural backgrounds.
Until Thursday 27 September, more information here.

Black Mist Burnt Country
National Museum of Australia, First Australians Focus Gallery, Free
Black Mist Burnt Country is concerned with the British atomic tests in Australia in the 1950s and ‘60s. It revisits the events and locations through the artworks of Indigenous and non-Indigenous contemporary artists across the mediums of painting, print-making, sculpture, photography, video and new media.
Until Sunday 18 November, more information here.

Scar Trees Exhibition by Duncan Smith
From Sunday 23 September to Monday 22 October
National Arboretum, Village Centre, 9am – 4pm
An exhibition by Duncan Smith, a Canberra based Wiradjuri artist, featuring ochre on canvas to depict patterns from his tribal scar trees.
Free exhibition. For more information see here or call 02 6207 8484.

ANTaR ACT events

We hope you can join us for the 2018 David Hunter Memorial Lecture on Tuesday 9 October.

The next ANTaR ACT monthly meeting will be on Tuesday 2 October, at 6pm, at King O’Malleys. All are welcome to join us – the focus will be on planning the lecture the following week, as well as updates on our current campaigns. Any queries, please email

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