Murnubbarr karrolka – flying magpie geese – now adorn our Council office in a vivid and colourful hanging created by Dora Diaguma, artist with Bábbarra Designs. The artwork was presented to Council in recognition of Council’s reconciliation efforts.
As part of National Reconciliation Week, the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) invited local community-sector workplaces to share the ways in which they were taking action on reconciliation.
We let them know about the work Council has been doing towards our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and they were impressed, awarding us the ACTCOSS CEO Award for Ingenuity in Reconciliation. In selecting Council for the award, ACTCOSS CEO, Emma Campbell, was particularly impressed with the NAIDOC Week colouring competition which Council ran last year.
When presenting the prize to Council’s volunteer RAP committee (who like to be known as RAPpers!) Emma said how impressed she was with the knowledge that ACT’s young people already have about aboriginal cultures and histories.
“But,” she said, “it is efforts like your colouring competition which help enable kids to tell these stories, to share them with their parents and bring the information that they have home so that everyone learns. They are great conversation starters!”
“It was done in such a beautiful way,” Emma continued, “I was moved by your efforts — I know that most of you are volunteers.”
Former Council President, Kirsty McGovern- Hooley, called the award “wonderful encouragement” and reflected on Council’s work on our Reconciliation Plan.
“It’s been an interesting journey for us. We had to look inwards — at Council, at what we were doing – and ask: How can we be more welcoming, learn more, and understand better? It’s been about changing.”
The black and white water birds are a long way from their Kakadu home, but will be a welcome addition to Council events and meetings. Murnubbarr are found in abundance in the wetlands of Kakadu and western Arnhem Land. They are a sustainably hunted and enjoyed Manme (bush food). They are known to fly long distances, particularly in the wet season.
With their encouragement, we hope to ‘go the distance’ and complete our first RAP this year.
This article appeared in ParentACTion Magazine, Term 3, 2021.