WSC Council Chambers today
Today the Aboriginal Flag and the Australian "Blue Ensign" flew side by side over the Wingecarribee Shire Council Chambers, to mark NAIDOC Day.
This follows the Council resolution of 27 June, that the Aboriginal Flag should fly on a permanent basis side by side with the national flag.
There was a ceremony to mark this flag raising and then several speeches were made by Councillor Larry Whipper (who was MC for the function), Val Mulcahy, who gave the "Welcome to Country" and also spoke well about the plight of the Aboriginal women in the local Berrima gaol, Mayor Gordon Lewis who spoke about the recognition of Aboriginal people and the 40 year anniversary of the Constitutional referendum of 1967. Peter Falk gave a keynote speech.
In the morning, Val Mulcahy had visited the Aboriginal women at the local gaol, in Berrima. She was angry at the treatment of these people, and commented that she knows they had done wrong things, but why were they treated so badly in there? No Aboriginal education resources. Many of these women come from distant areas, and are not used to the cold. Val collected a bunch of jumpers to give the women, but the authorities would not allow her to give them to the women, because they were not green. It seems there is a dress code for inmates at the gaol. The fact that these women were feeling the cold badly gets overlooked.
Val stunned us by reporting that today the inmates had sausages to eat today - the first meat they had been given to eat in seven months, apparently. What? What does the Department of Corrective Services use to justify that particular dietary regime?
Peter Falk relaxed into his speech, after a few minutes. Mind you, his re-telling of some of the local history of the European settlement of the district covered some serious issues, of a war between the Gundungarra people and Governor Macquarie's troopers, which occurred west of the Wollondilly River, in 1816.
Peter also spoke about the Aboriginal story of how the Waratah turned red.
Peter has spent a lot of time and energy getting the Council to come to the point where they have recognised the Aboriginal people, by deciding to fly their flag.
Councillor Nick Campbell-Jones, the Deputy Mayor, was conspicuous in his absence on this significant day.
Young kids from the local Aboriginal community gave a display of their dances, some seemingly based on traditional dance themes, and some obviously modern.
It was good to see the kids enjoying giving their performance, as much as we enjoyed watching them.