This year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations will be the first time the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags are officially raised together in Benalla Rural City.
The three flags will be raised on the new flag poles outside the Civic Centre by the Mayor Cr Justin King, and representatives from the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
"This is the third year Benalla Rural City has celebrated NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Week,” said Chris Thorne, local Aboriginal artist and Benalla Rurul City Citizen of the Year 2015.
“It is made even more significant by the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags being proudly raised together, demonstrating a united strong local community,” Mr Thorne said.
Mayor Cr Justin King said that NAIDOC Week was an important celebration for the Rural City.
“The three flag poles erected as part of the Civic Centre refurbishment allow us to formally recognise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with the powerful symbolism of the flags flying together,” he said.
Tours of the Indigenous Gardens have been an important part of local NAIDOC celebrations, and Chris Thorne said he was proud to be able to give the tours.
“The Indigenous Gardens were established 12 years ago, and they are well recognised locally as well as attracting visitors from many other communities,” Mr Thorne said.
The gardens were developed in partnership with the local Aboriginal community, Tomorrow Today Foundation and Benalla Rural City Council.
Activities for NAIDOC Week include:
Friday July 10
Story time and Lunch, 10.30am - 12.30pm, Sir Edward Weary Dunlop Learning Centre, Fawckner Drive
The Benalla Living & Growing Cultural Pride Together Project invites families to a special story time with Koorie educator and storyteller Aunty Kella Robinson.
Saturday July 11
Flag Raising Ceremony, 11.30am Civic Centre, Mair Street
Benalla’s inaugural raising of the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags
Refreshments and children’s activities, 12pm,Town Hall, Nunn Street
A sharing of stories, children’s activites and light refreshments. All welcome
Tour of Indigenous Garden, 1.30 – 2.30pm, Moira Reserve
Chris Thorne, local aboriginal artist and Benalla Citizen of the Year 2015, will guide visitors through this teaching space where the community can gain a greater understanding of the history and cultures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. No booking required.
Image: Chris Thorne guides a group around the Indigenous Gardens.