FLAGS were raised for the start of NAIDOC Week in Gympie to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
NAIDOC is celebrated not only in indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life.
NAIDOC originally stood for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself.
NAIDOC and the Australian Government are encouraging communities across the country to embrace the theme of NAIDOC Week 2010 – “Unsung Heroes – Closing the Gap” by Leading Their Way.
Local celebrations included a flag raising ceremony at the Rotunda in Memorial Park where a Welcome to Country was conducted by traditional owner Aunty Lillian who thanked invited guests, Member for Gympie David Gibson and Gympie Regional Councillor Julie Walker, for representing their respective organisations.
The ceremony included a special addition to Welcome to Country the Stubbs family.
Indigenous Pastor Greg Stubbs and his family have recently settled in Gympie. Greg is also known as a Wati, ‘Initiated man’ within the community and is the father of four boys who will be attending local schools.
“Having my family and I ‘Welcomed to Country’ is very special as it brings about a sense of acceptance and belonging.” Pastor Greg said.
Aunty Lillian invited Pastor Greg to make a dedication to the flag raising ceremony. Before he started the official part of the ceremony he acknowledged those in attendance as being unsung heroes and recognised many of his eastern brothers and sisters who have endured great hardship and sadness as they paved the way for a better future for the indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Member for Gympie David Gibson went on to add further in his acknowledgement of NAIDOC Week “that there are 52 weeks and each year we take time for one week to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians. However, for the remaining 51 weeks we can still remember the unsung heroes.
“This year the Queensland Parliament added a preamble to the Constitution of Queensland and, within the preamble for the first time, we officially recognised the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and their efforts towards making Queensland a great State,” Mr Gibson said.
A further local celebration of culture, history and achievements will be celebrated at the Family Fun Day in Nelson Reserve on Friday, July 16 from 9.30am to 2pm.
The event will feature Sean Choolburra who has developed into one of Australia’s finest cultural ambassadors and entertainers.
Sean has proved himself as a dynamic and versatile comedian, rap singer, dancer, storyteller, actor and hip hop didge player.