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Reconciliation in the Park - 11 July 2021

Council acknowledges the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners of this land and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People who are part of the Greater Geelong community today.


  • Wadawurrung Traditional Custodians and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today
  • Mayor Stephanie Asher (tentative) and Cr Sarah Mansfield
  • Christine Couzens MP
  • Geelong One Fire Reconciliation Group


  • Good morning everyone, I’m really excited to be here.
  • With lockdown in Sydney and restrictions around the country, I’m so glad we could be together for Reconciliation in the Park, which was rescheduled from May.
  • And it’s so fitting that it falls on the last day of NAIDOC Week.
  • What I love about this annual event and NAIDOC Week in general is that they’re a chance for everyone to celebrate and learn about the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including our Wadawurrung Traditional Owners.
  • It’s great to see the Indigenous community of Greater Geelong and beyond, coming together and celebrating its culture.
  • As chair of the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio, I’m enjoying discovering more and more about it.
  • I recognise and respect our Traditional Owners’ contributions in the community, their strengths, their stories and their knowledge of the land.
  • The ongoing journey towards reconciliation between our Indigenous people and non-Indigenous members is a priority of council, which is why we adopted our first Reconciliation Action Plan last year.
  • This plan is all about making good on promises, turning words and good intentions into action. The tool is giving the City a framework on achieving equality and building positive relationships, and we have achieved a number of actions over the past year or so.
  • Our first ever First Nations cultural heritage grants program is now open, recognising that Traditional Owners have cared and nurtured for our land for tens of thousands of years.
  • There are plenty of projects that fit into this category, such as developing a Cultural Heritage Management Plan for an Aboriginal Heritage Place or installing fencing to protect a site.
  • Head to the Geelong Australia website for information.
  • Obviously these are great initiatives, but as we all know – more needs to be done.
  • Reconciliation is about understanding, learning about and from history and culture, and healing. It requires a humble approach by non-Indigenous people. We need to truly listen to what is being said.
  • Thank you to everyone who is involved in driving reconciliation in the community and to our Wadawurrung Traditional Owners who are generous in their time teaching and leading.
  • Djillong, pronounced Geelong since Europeans came to the area, means ‘a tongue of land’.
  • I encourage non-Indigenous people in Greater Geelong to learn the full history of Djillong, as a step forward towards truth, healing and reconciliation. Let’s listen and learn.
Various photos of Jim Mason
I acknowledge that the Land I work on, live on and play on is the Traditional Lands of the Wadawurrung People. I pay my respects and homage to Wadawurrung Elders, both past and present, to all Wadawurrung people and to all Australia's First Nation's people.