It was a beautiful, fresh morning, being the first day of winter; the community comforted by the 3 fire pits and staying cosy as the sun was starting to rise, and the smell of egg and bacon filled the air.
Everyone enjoyed the casual breakfast atmosphere before the formal proceedings started with a beautiful welcome to country from Aunty Carole.
Aunty Carole spoke from the heart about her personal experience and aspirations for the future and the importance of children and young people learning about their culture.
The next speaker was Doreen Peters; Doreen is a proud Gamilaroi woman with a distinguished career in the public service, including key advisory positions in the NSW police force. She has been a long-term friend to NCNS, and has many interests and roles in the Aboriginal Community across the state.
Doreen shared several stories from her mother’s generation, as well as her own early days, prior to the 1967 referendum. She spoke to the importance of Mabo, and the challenges today going forward. She also spoke about her hopes for Aboriginal governance, real decision making and a unified voice for change.
Nicole, Manager of Lifestart, spoke about the partnership that NCNS and Lifestart have developed over recent years, particularly focused on giving Aboriginal kids a great start to life.
Finally Joy, Manager at NCNS, wrapped up the morning, reflecting on the changes seen over the last 20 years of Aboriginal Service delivery; especially now that we are seeing a generation of Aboriginal young people studying hard and graduating as teachers, doctors, and engineers in significant numbers. In the coming years, this generation will take senior positions in our institutions and organisations and bring about change in their own way.
All the speakers reflected on the importance of creating safe cultural spaces for the sharing of stories – and how vital that is for everyone. We all felt the warmth and spirit at Kooly that morning.