Raising hope

Children from Kidzspace dance to celebrate the raising of the Aboriginal flag outside Kyogle Council Chambers last Wednesday.

Last Wednesday, 40 years after the 1967 Aboriginal citizenship referendum and after 100 years of local government in Kyogle, the Aboriginal flag was raised outside Kyogle Council Chambers in a special ceremony of reconciliation.

For Patsy Nagus, an elder of the Bundjalung people and a Kyogle councillor, it was a very moving experience and the realisation of a long-held dream.

From now on, whenever Council flies the Australian flag, the Aboriginal flag will also be there.

Over 130 people attended the ceremony.

People who normally dont associate with us in town turned up and sat in the front rows, said Auntie Patsy.

The ceremony shows that we are here. And that we are approachable, she added.

Auntie Patsys brother, Terry Walker, sang a ballad. In it he referred to an old cemetery with a fence that separated the white from the black, mourning that even in death the peoples were separated.

Excited children from Kidzspace danced in front of the council chambers.

Bundjalung elder Charles Moran told the crowd the flag raising showed that Aboriginal people had been accepted in the Kyogle community.

The flag raising ceremony follows a resolution passed by Kyogle Council in December last year that each council meeting would commence (after the prayer) with a declaration Council acknowledges that this meeting is being held on the traditional lands of the Bundjalung people.

As Michael Brooke from the Kyogle Reconciliation Group said; It was a good day.I felt as proud as buggery of Kyogle.

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