Talking Together – The Connection

Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group in conjunction with the Shepparton Interfaith Network observed National Reconciliation Week 2017 talking together at The Connection, on Friday June 2nd. Some 35 peoples from many organisations and communities in Shepparton region attended.



Supporters of reconciliation from far and wide gathered together at The Connection on the Peter-Ross Causeway for Lunch on Friday, June 2nd, as part of a local observance of National Reconciliation Week. The event was co-hosted by The Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group and the Shepparton Interfaith Network. Members of both organisations were in attendance along with local Yorta Yorta community members, and their elders. Students from ASHE, and local islamic community members were present. The Welcome to Country was given by Uncle Boydie.


 Betul Tuna, Aunty Irene Thomas, Charles Allen and Uncle Boydie at The Connection.

Each year National Reconciliation Week (NRW) celebrates and builds on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. It is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation journey. The theme of National Reconciliation Week for 2017 was “Let’s take the next steps”.

Dierdre Robertson, co-convenor of the Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group gave an overview of recent events which, when drawn together, give a sense that we are living in times of change and that change is upon the nation at large in these matters. These reflections included the National – Uluru Statement from the Heart.



When we look to the level of what is happening in the state of Victoria, we noted that one significant point of change – urgently needed change – is the Andrews Government continuing to address important issues facing the Aboriginal community underlining its commitment to self-determination including the Treaty discussions and focussing on social issues concerning family violence and the wellbeing of Aboriginal children.



The AFL’s annual round recognising and celebrating indigenous players and culture is named in honour of Sir Doug Nicholls. Sir Doug, who epitomised the spirit of reconciliation, played 54 games for Fitzroy and was a brilliant all-round athlete. The first Aboriginal person to be knighted, he also served as Governor of South Australia and was devoted to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

On a local level Greater Shepparton City Council in partnership with Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Rumbalara Co-operative held a Grand Launch of the Aboriginal Street Art Project on the morning of 23 May 2017. The laneway was totally chock-a-block with people! It was exciting! In the afternoon, there were Conversations on Extraordinary Lives which focussed on the lives and work of Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls and William Cooper at Latrobe University.



On Friday, May 26th, we had the Sorry Day celebration. The Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group led the Sorry Day Event on Friday 26 May 2017 at Monash Park. There was a flag raising ceremony, wreath laying and at the end of the ceremony a commemorative walk to LaTrobe University. Mamy schoolchildren participated and read out Sorry Statements.

At The Connection there were four tables filled with participants and light finger food was served along with fruit platters. People conversed, changed tables, and met new friends. Conversations centred around local events, including the Rock Correa Walk at Tallis Winery. The energy level was high, and there were a lot of yarns, story tellings and beginnings ~ people networking to make things happen. Many significant community organisations were present, such as ASHE, the indigenous health and education unit, representatives of Rumbalara Cooperative, Red Cross, GV Health, and business representatives participating in the Regional Action Plan. The Algabonya Economic Initiative was also included in many discussions.

The lunch conversations closed with a summary of key points covered – and much to the delight of all present, there were several convergences of conversations and going forward. It was a very happy and active crowd on this day. Thanks to Felicia Dean of The Connection, the Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group and the Interfaith Network for coming together to make the day a success.








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