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Wollongong City Council

Conference leads journey towards reconciliation

Thursday 29 April 2021

Wollongong City Council will host a Reconciliation Conference this week that will provide Aboriginal Elders the opportunity to guide early childhood educators and their support organisations as they seek a deeper understanding of reconciliation.

The two-day conference, 29-30 April, will foster connections between Aboriginal Elders and educational organisations by sharing histories, cultures and contributions.

The Reconciliation Conference will see key speakers address participants and facilitate discussion topics including what is reconciliation, why we should commit to improving reconciliation education in schools and early learning, the importance of Country, and understanding the effects of racism.

During the conference 30 Elders will share their stories in yarning circles. These circles will provide conference goers an opportunity to connect in small groups to learn more about the Elders’ stories and backgrounds.

“This is the second Reconciliation Conference that Council have now organised and events such as these are extremely important,” Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

“Early childhood educational services provide amazing learning opportunities for our youngest community members. To have these educational providers developing practical ways to grow meaningful relationships with local Aboriginal communities is a wonderful long-term benefit to all of our community.

“The knowledge gained through this event will also support the educational organisations in the development of their own Reconciliation Action Plans.’’

Cr Bradbery said it’s important everyone in the community embraces the opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal heritage.

“As a Council we have a key role to play in creating an inclusive community built on respect, he said.

“As a community we need to engage and continue to work together with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“We are taking steps in the right direction to facilitate community respect, appreciation and positive relationships, and we need to continue to build on this work into the future. Events like this one are a positive way to build and share knowledge.’’

Speakers include:

  • Richard Weston, Deputy Children’s Guardian for Aboriginal Children and Young People in New South Wales
  • Alanna Raymond, Senior Officer, Reconciliation Australia
  • Aunty Lorraine Brown & Aunty Narelle Thomas, Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation
  • Jaymee Beveridge, Director, Woolyungah Indigenous Centre – University of Wollongong
  • Dakota Feirer, Independent poet, First Nations Art Educator- Art Gallery NSW
  • Dr Ngiare Brown, Founding Director of Ngaoara, a not-for-profit organisation focused on Aboriginal child and adolescent wellbeing

Wollongong City Council would like to thank the following organisations for their contributions to organising this year’s conference:

  • UOW Social Science Facility
  • Goodstart Early Learning
  • Early Childhood Education Services & Training
  • Big Fat Smile
  • Community Industry Group
  • Barnardos communities for children
  • KU Children’s Services
  • UOW Early Start
  • Northern Illawarra Aboriginal Educational Consultative Group
  • Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation
  • CareSouth
  • Curijo
  • Aboriginal Affairs NSW
  • Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child & Family Centre
  • Noogaleek Children’s Centre
  • Woolyungah Aboriginal Unit UOW