In the spirit of National Reconciliation Week, SHAPE celebrated by hosting interactive events to learn about the culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
National Reconciliation Week is a time to celebrate and build on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians. It is an ideal time for everyone to join the reconciliation conversation and reflect on our shared histories to gain further understanding of one another.
The SHAPE Victorian team met with Uncle Bill Nicholson from the Wurundjeri Council at Yarra Park next to the popular Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), to learn the significance of the red gum scar trees to the local Kulin people. Uncle Bill taught us how the landscape has changed over time, providing a deeper and more meaningful understanding of this important gathering place for the Kulin people.
We commenced our cultural walk with Uncle Bill welcoming us to the country and completing a smoking ceremony, which is an ancient Aboriginal custom involving burning native plants. The smoke has cleansing properties, wards off bad spirits from people and land, and makes a pathway for a brighter future. Uncle Bill walked us to one of the significant red gum scar trees, also known as a symbol of survival and reconciliation. It stands just a few kilometres from the city centre in Yarra Park but is largely hidden from view – despite the popularity of the MCG which brings in thousands of people every year.
The scar tree is one of few significant Aboriginal sites positioned where once was a well-known corroboree and campground for the Aboriginal people. The tree was used for making canoes, shields and housing.
Our NSW office hosted an interactive event; a Q&A with The Settlement’s Manager, Kristina Touma, followed by traditional-inspired activities, trivia and a delicious native morning tea.
It’s safe to say there is a lot of information and history to discover dating back 40,000 years and SHAPE believes that engaging in cultural experiences is a crucial step towards a unified future, one in which we understand, value and respect each other.
We believe that engaging in cultural experiences is a crucial step towards a unified future, one in which we understand, value and respect each other.