A Reconciliation Walk to remember the exclusion of Aboriginal peoples from Brisbane’s city limits during the 19th Century was one of several topics discussed when Reconciliation Queensland Inc. (RQI) invited Brisbane residents to yarn with local Indigenous elders.
The recent ‘yarning circle’ was part of RQI’s Defying Boundaries activities, which includes the Reconciliation Walk on Saturday, May 27, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the historic 1967 Referendum.
RQI’s non-Indigenous Co-Chair Peter Jackson said the Walk was an annual fixture of the National Reconciliation Week calendar.
“All are welcome to join us on our Reconciliation Walk. This is an easy stroll from Boundary Street, Spring Hill, to Boundary Street, South Brisbane,” Mr Jackson said.
These streets formed the boundaries of exclusion that were enforced on Indigenous peoples from twilight until dawn during the 19th Century,” he said.
Community elder Aunty Heather Castledine said last weekend’s yarning circle provided a respectful space for non-Indigenous people to learn about the Boundary Street system.
“We’re very grateful to ordinary folk who have a real interest in what life was like for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Brisbane and also in surrounding areas, like the Cherbourg mission station,” Ms Castledine said.
“We recognise that this year, National Reconciliation Week has taken on additional significance with the 5oth anniversary of the 1967 Referendum,” she said.
“The 1967 Referendum was a watershed moment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the journey towards reconciliation.
“More than 90 per cent of Australian voters elected to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the census.
“This gave the Australian Government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and gave us the same rights as other Australians under the Australian Constitution, while removing oppressive state government controls over our lives,” she said.
At the conclusion of this year’s Walk, participants will meet up with meet up with a day of community activities organised by the Kuril Dhagun section of the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum.
The Defying Boundaries Reconciliation Walk and yarning circle received funding support from Brisbane City Council through the Black Diamonds Community Partnership Scheme.