The Forbes community turned out in force last Friday to celebrate National Reconciliation Week at the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre. They gathered to support this year’s message of taking next steps towards recognising Australia’s indigenous heritage.
Local Wiradjuri woman Cathy Bowden organised the event, supported by family and friends.
Cathy’s daughter and local artist, Kelly Bowden, produced a painting especially for the day. People were encouraged to add their painted handprints to the work to create a memento of the event in the spirit of community.
The event began with a welcome and introductions, and an explanation of the purpose and importance of Reconciliation Week.
After introductions, special guest from Sydney Arthur “Turtle” Tamwoy performed a welcome to country, and entertained the group with his didgeridoo, impromptu language lessons, and teaching young folks to do the emu dance.
After the speeches and entertainment, Cathy and her grandchildren baked Johnny Cakes over a fire, while Peter Apps and Andrew Rawsthorne fired up the sausage sizzle.
Each year, Reconciliation Week celebrates and builds on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians. It runs from 27th May to 3rd June.
This year, those dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey—the 50th anniversary of the suc- cessful 1967 referendum, and the 25th an- niversary of the High Court Mabo decision.
The week reminds us that big changes take persistence and courage, and every step counts.
By Rochelle Bright