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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wingecarribee Shire Council and the Aboriginal Flag

Last night the Wingecarribee Shire Council voted to fly the Aboriginal Flag on a third flagpole outside the Wingecarribee Council Chambers, in Moss Vale "on a permanent basis, and in accordance with appropriate flag protocols".

They already fly the National flag, and the Shire's own flag.

Above is the Council's Logo. I cannot be sure that the flag is the same - but this is the only WSC image which appears on the Council's website.

Wingecarribee Shire
Council Chambers,
in Moss Vale, NSW.

I was proud to accompany Peter Falk to witness this historic debate and decision.

Clr. Larry Whipper, (a Robertson resident), was the proponent of the motion. He deserves credit for bringing the matter before Council (again). It had been defeated previously, several years ago, apparently. Larry spoke well, and with great significance.

Local councillor Jim Mauger ("Big Jim") (another Robertson resident) lived up to his nick-name, with a moving speech in favour of the motion. He said that he had thought about this issue a lot, over a long time, and had come around to the view that the Aboriginal people had looked after this land for 40, 000 years, and so deserved recognition. For a farmer, who values the spirit of looking after the land, Jim's speech was terrific.

Peter Falk, with whom I was sitting, merely muttered "60,000 years" - but he was more than happy with Jim's sentiments.

Mayor Lewis also spoke with considerable conviction about how, having come to this country from Britain, he had come to realise that the British had treated the Aboriginal people badly. He mentioned having been impressed by the recent Aboriginal Film festival, held in Bowral. That point would no doubt have gratified Dr David Tranter, who was in the Council Chamber tonight, and who was involved with that film festival.

The only Councillors to vote against the motion were Nick Campbell-Jones, and Penny George. Paul Tuddenham spoke against the motion, but it was not clear that he actually voted against it. Perhaps a discreet "abstention"? I could not be absolutely sure.

Anyway, as I said, I was proud to be with Peter Falk, to witness this historic decision.

Congratulations to all the Councillors who voted for it.


Miss Eagle said...

Congratulations to the good citizens of Widgicaribee who voted to fly the flag. Great to see the good citizens of Robertson in the forefront. The decision is particularly significant at this time as Aboriginal people and communities need every fair minded friend they can get. As for those who voted agin, Miss Eagle suggests the gift of a torch to get them through the dark ages which they clearly inhabit.

Denis Wilson said...

Nice point about the "timing". That issue was not mentioned during the debate. Still, I think most people would have been aware that the time is right to do this.

As I said, I was pleased to be there with a representative of the Aboriginal people.


mike macgirvin said...

The recent Highland News had a 'street poll' question about whether it was proper to fly the aboriginal flag (quite resounding comments in favor); however I'm a native North American and hadn't actually seen the flag in question. Thanks for providing it.

Now I'm curious as to the origins of this flag, and whether there is in fact a(n) historical aboriginal 'nation'. In North America, tribal flags are quite rare (national banners were regarded as a product of the European occupation force) and where they do exist they tend to be linked with a specific tribe rather than to an aboriginal nation as a whole. There was an attempt to consolidate tribes under an Indian nation flag during the turbulent 1970's, but the movement was quite violent and eventually self-destructed.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mike

There is some history of the Aboriginal Flag in Wikipedia.

It was made up, (designed), not a traditional design. It is said to represent black people on the red soil, with the sun, although that description is not quoted there. So that might be an urban myth.

Harold Thomas was a land rights activist, when he designed the flag in 1971.

Nice to have you visit the site.