Woodford Bay Reconciliation Memorial Ceremony
'Journey of the Spirit '
1.30pm for 2pm, Saturday, 7 February, 2003
Speech by Robert Welsh, Chairperson, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council
My Fellow Brothers & Sisters of Australia,
I thank you for sharing today with the Cameraygal people.
I must acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and Elders of the Eora Nation, and all other Custodians and Elders of all Aboriginal nations and clans throughout the length and breadth of this ancient, spiritual and most beautiful of lands on this planet.
I acknowledge and thank Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir for attending and giving dignity to the unveiling of this plaque on behalf of all people, all cultures, all religious beliefs and all languages that make Sydney so important to the rest of Australia.
I am here today as an elected representative of Sydney Aboriginal Peoples including the Cameraygal.
I would like to thank the people who had the vision that 'Truth' is what is important today and that it is 'Truth' which will be the guiding star for our future generations.
Today would not have happened but for the dedication and hard work of the following people: I personally thank the Lane Cove Historical Society; Lane Cove Residents for Reconciliation; Lane Cove Council; and the organization that I speak for today, namely the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.
When one looks at the recorded history of this country there are huge gaps that exist, or which are an outright denial of what actually occurred. Today's events are an opportunity to start to rectify this injustice.
It is only through the good will of you, the citizens of Australia that we now have the chance to give justice its real meaning and to share this island continent of ours based on mutual respect.
Where do we go from today depends on you; do we share the future together, based on respect and understanding or do we allow the policies of denial and oppression to rule again.
This ceremony of cleansing allows the traditional Aboriginal burial rites for the dead to have meaning and respect.
I hope we will all have learned and journeyed together today with this first small step, so that tomorrow we will better understand and respect our differences.
Robert Welsh, Chairperson, MLALC