Fees have been waived for new adult and concession Reconciliation Queensland memberships to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Walk for Reconciliation across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the William Jolly Bridge walk in Brisbane.
The Walk for Reconciliation and subsequent similar events around Australia followed Corroboree 2000, a meeting of dozens of high-profile Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders at the Sydney Opera House on 27 May 2000.
This meeting was described as ‘a ceremonial gathering of Australians to exchange commitments in the lead up to the centenary of Federation in 2001’.
Conceived by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, which itself had been created through an act of parliament in 1991 to guide the reconciliation process over the next decade, the bridge walk initially faced low expectations among the organisers.
One organiser, Shelley Reys, said later, ‘It happened at a time of political turmoil and we thought it could go either way. I thought at least we’d get a few hundred [people]’.
In the end around 250,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous people turned out, walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 28 May 2000 for nearly six hours, making it the biggest demonstration of public support for a cause that has ever taken place in Australia.
A week later, on 4 June 2000, around 60,000 people completed the William Jolly Bridge walk in Brisbane.
Click here to read more about this defining moment in our Nation’s history.
Up to 60,000 people crossed the William Jolly Bridge in Brisbane on 4 June 2000 in support of reconciliation [Image credit: ‘A People’s Movement: Reconciliation in Queensland’ by Charmaine Foley and Ian Watson, Keeaira Press, 2001.]