Lane Cove Celebrates Reconciliation Week and the Guringai Festival

The Guringai Festival raises awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in the Northern Sydney region. Lane Cove is one of 11 councils who contribute to the festival program, along with numerous reconciliation and community groups.  

To find out more about Reconciliation Week and the local activities we asked guest blogger Gemma Quartuccio to tell us more.  Take it away Gemma….

What is Reconciliation Week?

Reconciliation Week is the celebration of respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and all other Australians. Each year Reconciliation Week pays tribute to the significant milestones that have occurred along the reconciliation journey. It runs from May 27th, the anniversary of the 1967 referendum which gave the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Indigenous people and also have Indigenous people recognised in the national census, to June 3rd, which is the anniversary of the iconic Eddie Mabo v Queensland decision on Indigenous land rights.

What is the Purpose of Reconciliation Week?

The purpose of reconciliation is to engage all Australians in the journey to equality. To be effective it must be an active aspect of hearts, minds and actions of all people to create a united nation that is built on respect. The theme of the 2017 celebrations is “let’s take the next steps”, with it being the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision, this theme is asking all Australians to commemorate these reconciliation milestones and to actively take part in the next steps of the reconciliation journey.

What is Lane Cove Council doing to Celebrate Reconciliation Week?

The Lane Cove Council program includes workshops, art exhibitions, performances, films and talks, as well as Lane Cove’s Children’s Voices for Reconciliation. 

Animals and the Dreamings

This year, on the first day of Reconciliation Week, the Lane Cove Council paired with Taronga Zoo to bring the local community a presentation, Animals and the Dreamings, by Indigenous elder Col Hardy of the Kamilaroi tribe. Col, or Uncle Col, talked about the different Indigenous nations that are all throughout Australia, which total over 200, and spoke about the importance of all people needing to look after both each other and the animals. Col took the crowd on a journey through the Dreamings stating that “everything is put on this planet for a reason, even the bad things”. He spoke about how the Dreamings go back to when time was created and began with the story of the rainbow serpent, who is often linked to stories about land and water.

There was also a display of different boomerangs, one of which dates back 190 years, and other Indigenous tools as well as the blade of a Saw Fish who was missing a tooth! The story that has been passed down by Col’s ancestors is that the Saw Fish had had a tooth ache before it had died and that is why it is missing it’s tooth – because it had broken off.

In collaboration with Ryan from Taronga Zoo, Col sang songs about different animals that feature in Dreaming stories and are significant to Indigenous culture. There were songs about termites and how they are vital to eat the wood and bark to help make didgeridoos, and Dreaming stories about the Rainbow Serpent and Tiddalick the Frog as well as interactive discussions about the animals that feature in them.

Ryan brought with him Yarra, a Diamond Python, and spoke about snake safety.

taronga park zoo

He also brought with him a Shingle Back Lizard named Kimba, a white lip tree frog named Zinky (because his lips make him look like he has zinc on them!) as well as an echidna. 


Thank you to Gemma our Guest Blogger – she highly recommends that next time you see the Zoomobile event is in the plaza, make sure you go.  Gemma was accompanied by her own roving reporter Lex!!  See below.

gemma and lex


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