Bringing Australians together

Following several years work, the 'Reconciliation: Working Together Conference', organised by Queensland's City of Mackay attracted over 1,000 participants. Organisers ensured the August Conference was much more than a dry talkfest. Music dance and other festivities were an integral part of the occasion, including a traditional South Sea Island Kup Marie as the Conference dinner.

A wide cross section of the north Queensland community attended, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Government leaders, canegrowers, business leaders, tourist operators, students and community members.

Keynote topics included sessions on Looking for Certainty with former National Farmers Federation President, Rick Farley and one time Cattleman's Union representative on the National Farmers Federation, Warren McLachlan.

Camilla Cowley and Ethel Munn, who as an Aboriginal Elder had once laid a claim on Mrs Cowley's land, spoke on the issue Improving Relationships with Pastoralists. The landmark Quandamooka/ Redland Shire land agreement was also featured.

Community Development Officer, Robert Ryan, said that since the Conference reconciliation is now a topic of conversation in town, with many letters and calls of support for Council's progressive stand. He said business leaders and the local police were highly supportive, as were health and educational bodies.

Two concrete results from the exercise include the formation of study circles to improve knowledge and understanding, and the resurrection of the Wornoe Mura women's group for women of all races to share histories and support their younger sisters.

For further information contact Robert Ryan, telephone (07) 4968 4451.