Cultural practices shared during NAIDOC Week
Published at: 05 Jul 2019
GAZING UP AT GOULBURN VALLEY HEALTH’S ENORMOUS NEW INPATIENT TOWER UNIT REVEALS A SYMBOL OF CULTURAL PRIDE. THE EVER-GROWING BUILDING SHOWCASES SHEPPARTON’S RICH ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CULTURE
The Australian flag is joined by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags, billowing in the wind, high in the sky, attached to Lendlease’s crane, Lilyshay.
Lendlease building site manager for GV Health’s redevelopment Robert McGregor said, “we decided that we would fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags along with the Australian flag as symbols to show that all people are welcomed to work here.
“We thought it was appropriate to have Tristan Miller and Luke Briggs attach the flags, as they were the first two young Aboriginal men to work in our team,” he said.
According to the NAIDOC website, the Aboriginal flag has strong symbolism with each colour representing an important element of Aboriginal culture.
The black represents the Aboriginal people of Australia; the yellow circle represents the sun, the giver of life and protector; and the red represents the red earth, the red ochre used in ceremonies and Aboriginal peoples’ spiritual relation to the land.
Tristan and Luke, alongside fellow Aboriginal employees, will showcase their culture at GV Health’s upcoming NAIDOC Week event on Thursday, July 11.
NAIDOC Week is held from July 7-14 this year and events are hosted across the country to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Mr McGregor explained how the eight Aboriginal workers came to be involved in GV Health’s redevelopment.
He said Lendlease had engaged in a memorandum of understanding with Rumbalara Football Netball Club to engage young workers to build careers on site.
"RAW Recruitment, an Aboriginal owned and managed recruitment agency, have been integral, in the employment and management of this process," he said.
Redevelopment workers and local Yorta Yorta men Tristan Miller, Kailem Harrison and Anthony Walker will be among those sharing Aboriginal culture at the event through traditional dance and song.
Rumbalara Football Netball Club president Paul Briggs said the transmission of Aboriginal cultural practices was critical to the sustainability of their culture and identity.
“It’s also about teaching non-indigenous people about our culture,” Kailem said.
According to the NAIDOC website, the term originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’.
This year’s theme is ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth.’ which touches on the fact a substantive treaty has always been the primary aspiration of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander movement.
Next week’s NAIDOC celebrations at GV Health will begin with the traditional Welcome to Country, conducted by Uncle Ruben Baksh followed by Taleah Briggs singing Ngarra Burra Ferra.
Guests will then experience a smoking ceremony, didgeridoo demonstration and traditional dance.
The event will be held from 10.30am on Thursday, July 11 at GV Health’s Elsie Jones Education Centre in the courtyard.
A NAIDOC Week celebratory cake and light refreshments will be provided. RSVP to Carolyn McDowall on (03) 5823 7909 or via Carolyn.McDowall@gvhealth.org.au