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Reconciliation Journey

Diramu Aboriginal Dance and Didgeridoo at Sub Base Platypus Community Open Day 2018
Sydney Harbour is arguably the location of first continuous contact between Aboriginal and Non-Indigenous Australians…

Harbour Trust lands reveal the heritage of their Traditional Custodians and Owners; namely, the Borogegal, Birrabirrigal, Cammeraygal, Gadigal, Gayamagal, Wallumedegal and Wangal Peoples. This includes their lived experiences and connection to the nation’s maritime and defence industries. As such, we have a responsibility – and a significant opportunity – to assist in the national journey towards Reconciliation.

Harbour Trust vision

Our vision for Reconciliation is for “all Australians to recognise and celebrate the centrality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures, histories and continuing connections to these Harbour Trust lands”.

Fulfilling this vision requires a commitment to deepening relationships with First Nations Peoples across our organisation, from employment and procurement through to the day-to-day management of our extraordinary places. It also requires visible leadership and working collaboratively with First Nations Peoples and communities.

Reconciliation Action Plan

In support of our vision for Reconciliation, the Harbour Trust adopted its first Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in June 2018. During the two-year lifecycle of this strategic document, formally endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, Harbour Trust staff, volunteers and the Members of the Trust, took tangible steps with the community to progress the organisation’s Reconciliation journey.

With the formal endorsement of our second Innovate RAP (July 2020 to June 2022), the Harbour Trust committed to strengthen its vision for Reconciliation across key areas including cultural awareness, procurement, land management and partnerships.

Critically, we continue to integrate performance against RAP initiatives into our Corporate Planning process and report to the Members of the Trust quarterly on our progress.

See also: Harbour Trust strengthens its commitment to Reconciliation

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group

The implementation of our RAP is being overseen, monitored and championed by an internal RAP Working Group in close collaboration with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group.

In the period since we adopted our first Innovate RAP, the Harbour Trust has benefitted from the generous advice and guidance of our advisory group members as well as the wider First Nations community.

Watch: Dreamtime Story of Buriburi

To mark National Reconciliation Week 2021 (27 May to 3 June), the Harbour Trust collaborated on a short interpretation film with the Gujaga Foundation, the Gamay Dancers and First Nations videographer Tamati Smith. It is an opportunity for viewers to consider the origins of Sydney Harbour from the perspective of Coastal Sydney’s Traditional Owners.

In 2019, Ray Ingrey, Chairperson of the Gujaga Foundation and a Dharawal community representative, shared a local Dreamtime Story of Buriburi, the humpback whale, at the launch of the Bondi to Manly Walk (B2M). The organisers of the B2M embraced the Dreaming figure as their symbol and it is visible on wayfinding signage throughout the 80km coastal walk.

Ray was originally told the story of Buriburi by the senior women in his community and, in this video, he retells it with the aid of the Gamay Dancers of the Gadigal and Bidjigal nation. Set against the backdrop of Biloela Lawn, Cockatoo Island / Wareamah, the Gamay Dancers complement Ray’s words with a traditional performance that captures the essence of the Buriburi story...


Helpful links

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