The achievements of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were celebrated at a moving NAIDOC Week ceremony at the Lake Macquarie City Council City administration building this morning.
In acknowledgement of this year’s NAIDOC theme, ‘Because of Her, We Can’, the ceremony was presented almost exclusively by women.
Mayor Kay Fraser paid tribute to influential Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have been role models, mentors and mother figures to many people in their communities. They included a number of Elders who participated in the ceremony: Aunty Selena Archibald; Aunty Cecilia Enoch; Aunty Phyllis Darcy; and, Aunty Anne Pearce.
“These women, along with many other strong females in our Lake Macquarie communities, have made a significant impact on those around them – through their actions, their encouragement and their pride in their culture,” Cr Fraser said.
“We are lucky to have these outstanding women and to have benefited from the work they have done and the love they have given to those in their communities.
“It is because of the likes of them, that others can.”
Aunty Phyllis gave the Welcome to Country, assisted by her granddaughter, Aboriginal language educator Terri Lee Darcy, who repeated the greeting in Awabakal. Aunty Phyllis spoke of the significance of women in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the importance of country.
“Today, as we acknowledge women who are pillars of our society, we should also recognise another female figure who is always with us, Mother Earth,” she said.
Council’s ceremony is one of a number of events being held around the city to mark NAIDOC Week.
The Westlakes NAIDOC march and ceremony was held at Toronto on Tuesday and the Eastlakes Family Fun Day will be held from 10am to 3pm at the Pelican foreshore on Friday, July 20 (not July 13 as previously reported) featuring John Paul Young and the Eastlakes Got Talent quest.