University flags fly spirit of reconciliation

The Aboriginal flag.

The Aboriginal flag.
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The Torres Strait Islander flag.

The Torres Strait Islander flag.
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Friday, 29 May 2009

The University of Adelaide will hold its annual event for staff and students at the North Terrace Campus today (Friday 29 May) to celebrate National Reconciliation Week, with a special flag-raising ceremony and barbecue.

As part of its commitment to national reconciliation, the University has constructed three flagpoles between Bonython Hall and the Ligertwood Building, overlooking North Terrace and Pulteney Street.

From midday today, the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags will be flown in this prominent location as a symbol of reconciliation.

A number of key people will take part in the flag raising, including:

  • Professor Lowitja O'Donoghue AC CBE, Aboriginal leader;
  • Uncle Lewis O'Brien, Kaurna leader;
  • Professor James McWha, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide;
  • the Hon. John von Doussa QC, Chancellor;
  • Professor Roger Thomas, Director of the Centre for Australian Indigenous Research & Studies;
  • Jardine Kiwat, 2002 NAIDOC South Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander of the Year, and former University staff member;
  • Richard Bosworth, a member of the Stolen Generations, and the University's first Aboriginal PhD student in Science.

"The University of Adelaide is committed to reconciliation, and to the principles of diversity, equity and social justice," Professor McWha says.

"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. Accordingly, we have invited all staff and students to attend the event, which includes a free barbecue lunch at the conclusion of the ceremony."

Professor Thomas says the Aboriginal flag has 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 says.

"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," Professor Thomas says.


Contact Details

Professor Roger Thomas
Centre for Australian Indigenous Research and Studies
University of Adelaide
Business: (08) 8313 3140
Mobile: 0409 532 907

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762