Reconciliation Victoria held its annual on-country forum on the lands of the Yung Balug Peoples, in Boort, Central Victoria between 16-18 Sept.
Those who attended included members of Rec Vic’s Board, First Peoples Cultural Council, local reconciliation networks, staff, friends, and family.
The forum opened with a Welcome to Country and a very special smoking ceremony delivered by Aunty Marilyne Nicholls who explained the spiritual and cleansing benefits of this traditional practice.
Following this, attendees were gifted a guided walk by Aunty Marilyne and her sister Aunty Kathy, who talked about the significance of scar trees to the Lake Boort region, and the vital relationship Yung Balug Peoples have with natural water cycles and the local lake systems.
With our cups already full, we engaged in a wonderful cultural weaving activity with Master weaver, Aunty Marilyne and we made beautiful feather creations with Aunty Kathy. For the less crafty, a yarning circle was established, and the focus was on First Peoples perspectives on reconciliation, truth-telling and treaty; Facilitated by Rec Vic Cultural Council member Todd Condie, accompanied by his City of Port Phillip colleague, Jordan Sutardy and Rec Vic’s Education Officer, Jo Drummond.
As the program unfolded, Rec Vic’s CEO, Nicole Findlay, and Co-Chair Andrew Gunstone, shared Rec Vic developments and major projects. Local reconciliation networks caught up to share progress, challenges, and suggestions for strengthening reconciliation in local communities.
To close this year’s forum, attendees sat down for a screening of Lake of the Scars. A documentary about Boort’s history, told through the eyes of Traditional Yung Balug Peoples, local allies, and the late great Uncle Jack Charles. Directed by Bill Code the film opens a window to the deep and complex issues of truth-telling and navigating reconciliation in Australia.
Reconciliation Victoria warmly thanks all attendees for making the long journey to Dja Dja Wurrung country and we extend our deepest gratitude to Aunty Marilyne and Aunty Kathy for the safe and engaging activities they provided. Also, for allowing us to connect, learn, and be inspired by their stories, generous spirit, and country.