Elders raise flag for NAIDOC celebration

Uncle Viv Beeton and Hank Horton raise the aboriginal flag at Deloraine Cenotaph

Elders raise flag for NAIDOC celebration

AUGUST 2015 | Joanne Eisemann

AROUND ONE hundred people gathered to make history in Deloraine during the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week.

The local aboriginal community raised their flag for the first time at the Cenotaph.

One of the organisers, Greg May, commented, “We asked the RSL if it was okay to raise the flag here. They said it was fine to do that.”

An aboriginal language welcome was translated for attendees as “Hello, welcome. We sit here today on aboriginal land, my land, talking here together.”

Greg May spoke to the crowd of the history and importance of NAIDOC week, along with this year’s theme; which is “we all stand on sacred ground. Learn, respect and celebrate.”

He then introduced Hank Horton who commented, “Under our dreaming law we have the obligation to look after and care for our country.”

He also talked of the people who lived in Deloraine before white settlement, telling of a group of 20 people who had lived at Pumicestone Corner and had drawn much of what they needed from the Meander River.

Returning to the microphone, Greg outlined the decision to hold the flag raising at the cenotaph.

“For very many people this is their sacred ground. Today, when we raise our flag on this site we pay our respects not only to the traditional owners of this land but all the peoples who fought together; to remember them, to learn from them, to respect them and celebrate them,” he said.

A cultural lunch of roo burgers, kebabs and mutton-bird was prepared and served afterwards at Deloraine House.

Several dignitaries attended including Guy Barnett MP and his wife Kate, Greg Hall  MLC, Meander Valley Council Mayor Craig Perkins and Councillor Deb White.

The Mayor said “He thought it was good that a tradition of celebrating the aboriginal community here has begun, particularly in the year that we are in the process of edging closer to a referendum for constitutional change and recognition.”

 Mike Moores