Barwon Water was proud to participate in National Reconciliation Week 2024, themed “Now More Than Ever,” with a series of events designed to educate and engage the community on the importance of reconciliation.

National Reconciliation Week, which ran from 27 May to 3 June, offered an opportunity to reflect on our shared histories, cultures, and the steps we can take towards achieving reconciliation.

As part of Barwon Water’s commitment to fostering understanding and connection, Barwon Water in partnership with City of Greater Geelong, Geelong Gallery, Geelong Regional Libraries, Platform Arts, and The Gordon, hosted a special guided walk and film night on Thursday, 30 May.

The film screening – hosted at Platform Arts – featured the acclaimed First Nations short film “Babakiueria” followed by guided yarning circles and enjoy First Nations-inspired cuisine.

Barwon Water Managing Director Shaun Cumming said the immersive experience was “designed to foster open dialogue and deeper understanding of First Nations cultures and histories.

“These events are an opportunity to humbly reflect on where we’ve come from and where we need to go,” Mr Cumming said.

“I will be reflecting on both my personal reconciliation journey and that of Barwon Water during the week. I’m so grateful for the patience and generosity of Traditional Custodians in sharing Knowledge about Country and Water and in their willingness for us to walk with them.”

Geelong Regional Libraries CEO Vanessa Schernickau said she was proud the corporation could partner on the special event.

“Now is a time to listen, to learn, to take action. We are proud to take part in this collaborative event, and look forward to connecting with our local communities, and increasing our own understanding of First Nations culture.”

Geelong Gallery Director and CEO, Jason Smith, also welcomed the opportunity for the gallery to be part of the special Reconciliation Week events.

“Geelong Gallery’s work in advancing reconciliation and the representation of First Nations cultures is underpinned by our commitment to equity, access, inclusion, and the primacy of First Nations.

“We regard it as enormously important to be part of this collective event.”

Greater Geelong Mayor Trent Sullivan said the City was again looking forward to supporting local Reconciliation Week activities.

“City Hall will be transformed throughout Reconciliation Week from 6-11pm with a tribute to Jurrawaa Norm Stanley, and an educational animated projection of stories and art, suitable for all ages, that explore First Peoples’ connection to the land and star constellations,” Mayor Sullivan said.

“Wagiman artist Nathan Patterson and Wadawurrung woman Corrina Eccles came together with projection artist Matt Bonner to create ‘Alignment’ that shares important stories during this period of contemplation, learning and action.”

Ms Eccles said this year’s National Reconciliation Week theme ‘Now More Than Ever’ “reminded us that, no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will – and must – continue”.

“There have been many moments in Australia’s reconciliation journey that make us want to turn away.”

The Gordon CEO Joe Ormeno said The Gordon put a priority on reconciliation through its education programs.

“As a leading educational institution in Geelong, The Gordon is uniquely positioned to foster understanding and promote healing.

“We believe education can dismantle stereotypes, challenge biases, and empower individuals to become agents of change.

“This week, and every week, we commit to deepening our knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, celebrating their rich heritage, and collaborating to build a more just and equitable society for all.”

Platform Arts Artistic Director and Co-CEO said she was honoured that Platform Arts can champion First Nations truth and storytelling by hosting these events as part of National Reconciliation Week.

Throughout the week, Barwon Water also featured Reconciliation Projections on the Ryrie Street forecourt, showcasing Reconciliation Action Plan artwork by Dixon Patten. These projections aim to highlight the significance of reconciliation and the artistic contributions of First Nations people.

Mr Cumming said both events and the projections provided valuable platforms for sharing Barwon Water’s vision and commitment to reconciliation with the community and key stakeholders.

“By actively participating in National Reconciliation Week, Barwon Water reaffirms its dedication to making reconciliation a core part of our work and our community.”

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