Education the key for reconciliation

30 May 2013

If you haven't already gotten involved in the events celebrating Reconciliation Week, you can find out what's on for the rest of the week.

In his speech at the flag raising ceremony to kick off Reconciliation Week on Monday, Provost Professor Stephen Garton said, "Education is one of the greatest lynch pins for reconciliation."

It was a sentiment echoed by Pamela Hubbard, the choir teacher at Darlington Public School.

"We have a lot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at our school, so we do a lot of work educating the students about the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It's something which is really valued at our school," Pamela said.

The choir from Darlington Public School performed two traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander songs at the flag raising ceremony.

Professor Shane Houston, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services) closed the ceremony with a quote by Sir Douglas Nicholls, former Governor of South Australia and prominent Aboriginal leader.

"We want to walk with you, we don't want to walk alone."

In one of Australia's largest public artworks and the focal point of Reconciliation Week, the Sea of Hands display on the Front Lawn provides a physical representation of Sir Nicholls' famous line.

Put your hand up for reconciliation by signing your name on a plastic hand and planting it in a design on the lawn. The Sea of Hands display will run until Monday 3 June.

More than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high schools students were on campus as part of the Reconciliation Week activities. The students came from schools across Sydney and as far away as the Central Coast and Illawara. They were on campus as part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students' Experience Day, giving the students an opportunity to get a taste of university life.