May 27 - 3 June is National Reconciliation Week. During this time, we learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements. It’s also a time to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
Social Justice has always been a priority for Envirolab Group and we recognise reconciliation is a shared process where every team member has a role to play. We contribute by collectively building relationships and supporting communities that value First Peoples’ histories, cultures and futures. In late 2020, our Melbourne lab supported MITS (Melbourne Indigenous Transition School) in a project focused on the planning of soil work.
2021 Theme: More than a Word. Reconciliation Takes Action
Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action where Reconciliation Australia provides ideas of some actions that can be taken in 2021 for Reconciliation.
While much has been achieved, there is still more work to be done. Moving towards a braver reconciliation requires a shared vision for a just, equitable and reconciled Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians participate equally and equitably in all areas of life as non-Indigenous Australians - i.e everyone is entitled to equal opportunities, choices, and a quality of life not determined by one's race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin. Hence, reconciliation is a journey for all of us in Australia – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Acknowledgment of Country
Envirolab acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work. We recognise our First Nations peoples' continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
Acknowledging Country shows an acceptance and understanding that no matter where we are across this nation, we are on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands, and we acknowledge ongoing connection to Country. In joining the discussion, we briefly explore the Traditional Owners that our Envirolab locations are located on. In doing so, we hope this provides some learning about the Traditional Owners of the land that we at Envirolab live and work on. We also hope this provides an opportunity to show respect for the First Nations people as the original inhabitants and the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country.
In the spirit of reconciliation, our Adelaide office, in the present-day suburb of Norwood, acknowledges the Kaurna people as the Traditional Owners of the land we live and work.
Kaurna land extends north towards Crystal Brook, down the Adelaide plains, south along the coast to Cape Jervis and is bounded by the Mount Lofty Ranges to the east. Today, you can experience the Kaurna language, which continues to live and breathe throughout the city of Adelaide. Victoria Square, is also known as ‘Tarntanyangga,’ which means Red kangaroo dreaming. Similarly, the River Torrens is also known as ‘Karrawirra Parri,’ meaning Redgum forest. The Adelaide Kaurna Walking Trail will take you on a journey of learning about the Kaurna culture and heritage, including the traditional Elders and their stories of the past as told through art and word. More information about the history and culture of the Kaurna people can also be found through the Kaurna Warra Karrpanthi Aboriginal Corporation (KWK).
Our Brisbane office, located in Banyo, acknowledges the Turrbal and Yuggera (also written as Yagera, Jagara, and Jagera) people as the Traditional Owners of 'Meeanjin,' the traditional name of Brisbane which means the place of the blue water lilies.
The Turrbal people primarily occupied areas to the north along the Brisbane River, including what is now known as Coronation Drive. The culture of the Turrbal people continues to thrive in Brisbane’s historical art trails, exhibitions and place names. You can learn more about the Turrbal people and current cultural events by visiting the Turrbal Association Inc's website.
The Yuggera nation encompassed a vast region south west of Brisbane, including Ipswich. The Yuggera word, ‘yakka,’ meaning to work hard, continues to be part of the Australian vocabulary. More Yuggera words can be accessed through the Queensland State Library.
Other Traditional Owners also include the Wakka Wakka, Yugambeh, Quandamooka and Gower people.
Located in the present-day suburb of Winnellie, our Darwin office operates on Larrakia Country, from the Cox Peninsula in the west to Gunn Point in the north, and the Adelaide River in the east and down to the Manton Dam area southwards.
The Larrakia people had one of the longest-running land claims in the Northern Territory, the Kenbi Land Claim, which was settled after 37 years. Filed in 1979, the Claim was settled in 2016 when approximately 2,000 hectares of land on the Cox Peninsula, including a number of islands and reefs in Bynoe Harbour, were granted as Aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. More information about the Larrakia people can be found on the Larrakia Nation website.
Our Melbourne laboratory, in Croydon South, is on the traditional Country of the Wurundjeri people.
The Wurundjeri people are one of five language groups that collectively make up the Kulin Nation. The Wurundjeri people take their name from the Woiwurrung (also written as Woi Wurrung, Woiwurrong, Woiworung or Wuywurung) language word ‘wurun’ meaning the Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), which is common along ‘Birrarung’ (Yarra River), and ‘djeri‘, a grub found in or near the tree - the Birrarung was central to the Wurundjeri people as it also provided a variety of foods, including eels and fish.
Today, we can still see the history of our Traditional Owners. The southern façade of Swanston Square, in central Melbourne, features the distinguished face of William Barak, the last traditional Ngurungaeta (Elder) of the Wurundjeri people. More information about cultures, services and events is available at Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation's website.
The Kulin Nation also includes the Boonwurrung, Wathaurrung (also written as Wathaurung or Wathaurong), Daungwurrung and Djadjawurung (also written as Dja Dja Wurrung) people. Their collective traditional territory extends around Port Phillip and Western Port. It extends up into the Great Dividing Range and the Loddon and Goulburn River valleys.
Our Sydney laboratory, located in Chatswood, acknowledges the traditional Custodians of this land, the Cammeraygal people of the Guringai tribe of the Eora nation.
The legacy of the Cammeraygal people resonates in the local community today. For instance, Cammeraygal is ensigned on the North Sydney Municipal emblem. The suburb of Cammeray and Cammeraygal High School located in the suburb of Crows Nest, are named after the Cammeraygal people. For more information about the Traditional Custodians and First Peoples of NSW, including education programs, resources, events and getting involved, visit Reconciliation NSW.
Our Perth lab, in the suburb of Myaree, acknowledges the Whadjuk Noongar people as the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters where the greater metropolitan area of Perth is situated today.
The major present-day cities and towns on the traditional Country of the Whadjuk Noongar include Perth, Fremantle, Joondalup, Armadale, Toodyay, Wundowie, Bullsbrook and Chidlow. The approximate size of the Whadjuk region is 5,580 km. Throughout the region, there are a range of significant sites. For instance, the town of Guildford, has always been an important meeting place for Noongar people. The area contains many campsites and spiritual sites, which have been used by the Noongar people from pre-contact to the present day. The ‘quokka,’ also known as the short-tailed scrub wallaby, is from a Whadjuk word.
About National Sorry Day
National Sorry Day is observed annually on May 26 and marks the day that the landmark ‘Bringing them Home’ report was tabled in Federal Parliament in 1997.
Preceding National Reconciliation Week from May 27-June 3, the day remembers and acknowledges the past policies of forced child removal, and reflects on the sad and painful stories of the Stolen Generations. It is a time to recognise the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the power of saying Sorry. While this date carries great significance for the Stolen Generations and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it is also commemorated by Australians around the country.
About National Reconciliation Week
Each year National Reconciliation Week, held between 27 May and 3 June, commemorates two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision.
The week is dedicated to growing respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.
More information on National Reconciliation Week can be found at Reconciliation Australia.
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