National Arboretum to host Reconciliation Day events

Ian Bushnell 21 May 2021 8
National Arboretum

The open spaces of the National Arboretum will play host to Canberra’s fourth annual Reconciliation Day. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Indigenous culture will be on show at the National Arboretum when it hosts this year’s Reconciliation Day community event on 31 May.

Canberra’s fourth annual Reconciliation Day will include a range of activities such as live music, language workshops, craft and guided walks.

Co-Chair of the ACT Reconciliation Council Chris Bourke said the day provided a special opportunity to encourage conversation about the importance of reconciliation to all Canberrans and all Australians.

“We urge Canberrans to come and be part of the events and take the opportunity to develop an understanding of what we can do as a community, and as individuals, to contribute to reconciliation,” he said.

Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Rachel Stephen-Smith said the day would be time for the Canberra community to come together in the spirit of Reconciliation.

“Reconciliation day is an opportunity for all Canberrans to learn about the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” she said.

“It is a time to respectfully engage in truth-telling and to think about our shared history and how it has shaped our society today.”

Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021 is More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.

“This theme reminds us that Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, businesses and organisations. We all have a role to play in achieving true reconciliation,” the Minister said.


READ ALSO: Reconciliation artworks for new ACT Government offices


Last year’s public event had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the day was recognised by Canberrans in their own homes through online activities and content.

Ms Stephen-Smith said she was pleased to see the return of the community event this year which in previous years has been held in Glebe Park.

She said the Arboretum would provide a large open space for the community to come together and participate in activities which facilitate reflection, conversation and celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Reconciliation Day event activities include live music from the Griffyn Ensemble, Wiradjuri Echoes and Johnny Huckle; a yarning circle with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders; and Ngunnawal language workshops.

There will also be creative activities including basket weaving, butterfly craft and Sturt Desert Pea making, as well as a portrait exhibition, guided cultural walks through the forests, bush tucker tastings, community games and a free barbecue.

A screening of a collection of short cultural and truth-telling videos and live panel discussion showcasing the stories of some of Canberra’s Elders and advocates for Reconciliation is also planned.

In addition to the Reconciliation Day event, local community groups, schools and organisations will run workshops, activities, and events during Reconciliation Week, supported by the Reconciliation Day 2021 community grants program.

Recipients include:

  • Toora Women’s Aboriginal art workshop.
  • Larry Brandy story telling workshops in association with the Beseda Czechoslovak Australian Association of Canberra.
  • Wiradjuri Echoes cultural workshop.
  • Baringa Childcare Centre Reconciliation Day workshop.
  • Canberra Oceania Community Alliance forum.
  • Living Stronger online Reconciliation Day concert.
  • Flynn Early Childhood Centre workshops.
  • Forrest Primary School Indigenous Garden.

Forest Primary’s Tunnels Project spokesperson Corey Grafen said the playground and Indigenous Garden at Forrest Primary School was an important recreational park in the area.

“The Indigenous artwork on the concrete tunnels in the park will be a permanent reminder and symbol of our sense of belonging and pride in Indigenous culture,”‘ he said.

“This initiative would not have been possible without the Reconciliation Day Grant. Fortunately, the grant will allow us to collaborate with a local artist and bring the wider school community together to foster respect and appreciation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.”

For more details on ACT Reconciliation Day 2021 and activities go to events.canberra.com.au/reconciliation-day


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8 Responses to National Arboretum to host Reconciliation Day events
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franky22 franky22 12:56 pm 28 May 21

larrythorn – Are you serious ?

“There has not been a friendly relationship between the 2 groups since 1788”

larrythorn larrythorn 10:37 am 28 May 21

The name of the day should be changed to Conciliation Day. Reconciliation is the restoring of friendly relationships. This cannot occur when there have not been any times since 1788 when there has been a friendly relationship between the two groups.

whatwik whatwik 9:46 am 24 May 21

The big shame is there was no justice for those who truly suffered and those who were responsible (as was the case I suspect with my Pict ancestors and their Roman and Viking tormentors). Education opportunities are always welcome but we certainly don’t want to be promoting exceptionalism or delusions (whether of the friend in the sky or rainbow serpent variety).

russianafroman russianafroman 11:54 pm 23 May 21

Other three put it best

rocca66 rocca66 9:21 pm 23 May 21

Wholeheartedly agree. We are all equal.

jorie1 jorie1 9:47 am 23 May 21

Any discriminatory racial laws that used to exist in society have been abolished and there is opportunity for everyone to participate in society, if they wish to do so. There is no need to have special days for different races. It actually just creates division rather than inclusion. But thanks for the day off.

Acton Acton 8:23 am 23 May 21

There can be no reconciliation when one side wants to maintain real and imagined grievances for their own ongoing advantage. It then becomes Retribution Day.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:20 pm 22 May 21

“This theme reminds us that Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians……”

This “journey” doesn’t have a destination for all Australians as it has now become an industry.

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