Flags fly spirit of reconciliation
A special flag-raising ceremony formed the centerpiece of the University of Adelaide's annual celebrations for National Reconciliation Week.
As part of its commitment to reconciliation, the University constructed three flagpoles on the North Terrace Campus between Bonython Hall and the Ligertwood Building. These flagpoles overlook two of Adelaide's busiest roadways: North Terrace and Pulteney Street.
The event on Friday 29 May saw the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags flown in this prominent location as a symbol of reconciliation.
"The University of Adelaide is committed to reconciliation, and to the principles of diversity, equity and social justice," said Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha.
"Flying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags along with the Australian flag symbolises our commitment, and an acknowledgement of a shared future for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.
"Events such as this help to remind us all that reconciliation is ongoing, that it requires a commitment from everyone, and that it should be a visible part of our community."
Professor Roger Thomas, Director of the University's Centre for Australian Indigenous Research & Studies, said the Aboriginal flag had a special link with the University of Adelaide.
"The flag's designer, Harold Joseph Thomas - a Luritja man originally from Central Australia - studied social anthropology at the University of Adelaide. This was after his formal training at the South Australian School of Art," Professor Thomas said.
"Last year's National Apology to the Stolen Generations has given impetus to the process of reconciliation in Australia. More recently, the Australian Government has endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Today's event at the University reaffirms the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture to the University community," he said.
The flag-raising event was opened by Kaurna Aboriginal leader Uncle Lewis O'Brien. Other key people who attended the event included Aboriginal leader Professor Lowitja O'Donoghue AC CBE, Professor McWha, the University's Chancellor, the Hon. John von Doussa QC, Jardine Kiwat, 2002 NAIDOC South Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander of the Year and former University staff member, and Richard Bosworth, a member of the Stolen Generations and the University's first Aboriginal PhD student in Science.
All staff and students were invited to attend the flag-raising event, which included a free barbecue lunch at the conclusion of the ceremony and performances by the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM).
Story by David Ellis