Celebrating Indigenous Women for NAIDOC Week 2018

Published on 09 July 2018

Crowd gathered before the flags at Memorial Park, Drouin.

Baw Baw Shire Council has shared in NAIDOC Week celebrations with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community at a flag raising event in Drouin’s Memorial Park this morning.

The theme for NAIDOC Week 2018 is Because of Her, We Can! and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have played, and continue to play, active and significant roles at the community, local, state and national levels.

Despite the winter morning chill, many gathered in Drouin’s Memorial Park to enjoy a warm breakfast served by the Rotary Club of Drouin and share in the annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and achievements.

Mayor of Baw Baw Shire Councillor Joe Gauci was joined on stage by local Elder Grace Hayes who welcomed people to Country alongside Merle Rose and Lionel Rose Junior. Also in attendance was Cr Mikaela Power and CEO Alison Leighton.

The Mayor spoke of the many significant indigenous female leaders, trailblazers, politicians, and social change activists who have fought and continue to fight for justice and equal rights.

“We can all recognise that history has not fairly represented women in politics, business, sport, art, education, community and family. Today we are challenging that misrepresentation”, said the Mayor.

“We are reminded of prominent pioneering women like Barangaroo, Truganini, Gladys Elphick, Mum Shirl, Ellie Gaffney and Gladys Tybingoompa to name a few. Also present day trailblazers like Joyce Clague, Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, Nova Peris, June Oscar, Pat O’Shane and Linda Burney who paved the way for today’s conversations.

“Locally, women including Grace Hayes, Merle Rose, Cheryl Drayton, Pauline Mullett, Linda Mullett, Kaylene McKinnon, Sherralee Dow, Heather Hood, Belinda Crawford, and Lisa Williams are just a handful of the people who are working to support a strong aboriginal culture.

“We celebrate the women who stand for a better life, greater opportunities, an inclusive community and equality for their children, families and the greater indigenous community.”

The Mayor also spoke of Council’s commitment to continue working respectfully with the Aboriginal community.

“An invitation has been made to people in Baw Baw to stand proudly with the Aboriginal community during NAIDOC Week. We have all been invited to share in the fun and pride that surrounds this important time of year. I urge everyone in Baw Baw to accept that invitation and join in where you can. If you can’t join in, then speak up for NAIDOC Week and the Aboriginal community.”

To find out more about the history and significant influence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women visit NAIDOC Week 2018 Theme.

Lionel Rose Junior speaking at the NAIDOC Week flag raising community event.

Image: Lionel Rose Junior speaking at the NAIDOC Week flag raising community event.

 Mayor Joe Gauci sharing the stage with local Elder Grace Hayes, Merle Rose and Lionel Rose Junior.

Image: Mayor Joe Gauci sharing the stage with local Elder Grace Hayes, Merle Rose and Lionel Rose Junior.

Raising the Torres Strait Islander, Aboriginal and Australian Flags in celebration of NAIDOC Week at Drouin's Memorial Park.

Image: Raising the Torres Strait Islander, Aboriginal and Australian Flags in celebration of NAIDOC Week at Drouin’s Memorial Park.