Guraki’s Two Decades of Détente

Filed under Community, Council, Indigenous, News ~ by Press on  7 Nov 2019

Guraki Committee drives reconciliation for 20 years.

Guraki Committee with Chair Rob Russell and inaugural chair Laurel Williams at left.

The City of Newcastle’s Guraki Aboriginal Advisory Committee has for two decades strengthened  relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Novocastrians.

Guraki was established as a council committee on 1st June 1999 to” give life to” council’s reconciliation ‘Commitment Statement’.

City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said former Lord Mayor Joy Cummings’ advocacy – followed by the establishment of the Guraki Aboriginal Advisory Committee by the Former Lord Mayor Greg Heys – has ensured that Guraki’s legacy includes the Aboriginal flag on City Hall flying permanently alongside the Australian flag, a symbolic message acknowledging the Awabakal and Worimi peoples as Newcastle’s traditional owners.

Guraki Committee Chair Rob Russell remarked on the history of Guraki and acknowledged those who have served on the committee throughout its 20 years.

Guraki celebrating its 20th anniversary is a truly significant milestone. City of Newcastle has been a leader in driving reconciliation and seen many benefits from the expertise of an active Aboriginal community voice,” Mr. Russell said.

Guraki provides high level strategic advice to assist Council to better understand the perspectives and aspirations of local Aboriginal people.

Into the future, Guraki will continue to foster a more inclusive Newcastle community, and to promote to Council the concerns and interests that affect Aboriginal people in Newcastle.”

Guraki’s milestone was acknowledged last night (Thursday, 7th November) at an anniversary event held at Newcastle Museum.

Another achievement has been the dual names project which has seen the formal gazettal of eight significant Aboriginal landmarks in Newcastle, featuring interpretative signage with original names and place narratives,” councillor Nelmes said..

The City of Newcastle’s Guraki Aboriginal Advisory Committee submitted the names to the NSW Geographical Names Board based on Aboriginal references to the landmarks documented in maps, sketches and geological descriptions dating back from as early as 1797.

This project has helped to bring the language and heritage of the Awabakal and Worimi peoples to a broader audience as part of a reconciliation project,” Cr Nelmes said.

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