The Greater Shepparton City Council and the William Cooper Memorial Committee invites the community to the official unveiling of the William Cooper Memorial Statue at Queens Gardens, Shepparton, on the morning of 27 March, 2018 at 10:00am
William Cooper was a Yorta Yorta man, Aboriginal activist, Human Rights Advocate, Defender of the Oppressed. William Cooper established the Australian Aborigines’ League, the National Day of Mourning and is recognised as the Father of National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC). He also presented a petition to the German Consulate against the persecution of Jews.
The plinth for the statue of William Cooper in Queen’s Gardens, Shepparton, has been prepared:
A place where all paths connected – a fitting location for such a man. It is a park where people stop to rest, wander through: sometimes in a hurry. A place of green lawns, and trees whose spreading canopies hold leaves that are soon to fall. Of tidy garden beds standard roses and flowering annuals.
A different place to Cummeragunja, where William Cooper lived his early life on the Murray River.
It is a place where, once a year since 2007, people have gathered to acknowledge the Stolen Generations and the impact of the policies of successive governments and institutions that ripped apart families and communities: an impact that is still reverberating today.
Again a fitting place for this man who was so aware of the effect of the legacy of white settlement on his people.
And so it is that on March 27 William Cooper will take his place in Queens Gardens. His statue will stand to remind us of the history of our country that we find hard to acknowledge.
This statue represents the joint community history where William Cooper along with William Ferguson, Jack Patten and his younger brother George, Margaret Tucker and her sister Geraldine Briggs, Doug Nicholls and Bill Onus all move to speak up for their people.
To draw attention to the conditions under which they lived, the lack of rights even in their own country and to the ”callous treatment of our people by the white men during the last 150 years”.
They are all leaders who helped inspire later generations of activists and whose stories are remarkable in their own right.
Of this group of early leaders, William Cooper, Doug Nicholls and Margaret Tucker are featured on the walls of Goulburn Valley Water joined by Nora Charles as part of Shepparton’s Aboriginal Street Art Project – providing us with an opportunity to learn more about our shared history.
When: Tue, 27 Mar 2018 Tuesday 27th of March, 2018,
Where: Queens Gardens, Shepparton
Contact: Rachael Duncombe on (03) 5832 9586 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an adaptation of an article which appeared in Shepparton News on 19 March and is reproduced with permission
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