Speech to Parliament: NAIDOC Week 2014

Each year in July the electorate of Kingsford Smith pays tribute and thanks to the local Aboriginal community and celebrates its history, culture and achievements through NAIDOC Week.

NAIDOC Week, of course, provides an opportunity for our local Indigenous community to showcase its rich and diverse history dating back many thousands of years. This year, there are a number of important events in our community.

A local group, First Hand Solutions, held a Black Market at the historic Bare Island in Goorewall—or La Perouse as it is more commonly known—with a NAIDOC focus and attractions such as spear-making sessions, catch and cook fishing, a smoking ceremony, plant and artefact talks and visits from local Indigenous elders, particularly Laddie Timbery and Esme Timbery, whose family has been running a shell-making business in the community for 188 years and whose ancestry and connection with that land and that community dates back 7,000 years.

It makes an absolute mockery of the assertion by our Prime Minister that this country was unsettled prior to English colonisation. I pay tribute to Peter Cooley and Sarah Martin from First Hand for the wonderful work that they have done in establishing the Black Market and getting it running.

I was also honoured to attend a special mass at the Reconciliation Church at Phillip Bay. Father Frank Brennan was the presiding priest at that wonderful service. The mass, hosted by the local Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, acknowledged Aboriginal Sunday and provided a moving service for all those who attended.

I think the elders from the community who attended that mass. The NAIDOC Cup, a challenge between the La Perouse Panthers and the Redfern All Blacks, was held at La Perouse. Unfortunately, the Redfern All Blacks, from the neighbouring electorate of Sydney, got up this year! Well done to all those who participated and played in what was a tough game of rugby league.

The La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council paid tribute to those from an Indigenous background who served our nation in wars. It was heartening and quite moving to hear the tributes to some of our local Indigenous people who had served our nation, in particular Vic Sims, a member of the local Indigenous community who served our nation in World War II. There were also wonderful events hosted by Randwick and Botany councils.

I attended a wonderful event at the Prince of Wales Hospital which showcased traditional Aboriginal art and also many community events that brought our community together to celebrate NAIDOC Week.

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