Over twelve years after Pete Garrett and Midnight Oil took to the stage at the Sydney Olympics wearing black suits with the word SORRY written on them in big white letters after the Prime Minister of Australia refused to utter that word to the indigenous peoples of Australia, Australia Day 2013 marks the first time that both the Australian and the Aboriginal flags have flown side by side on the Harbour Bridge on Australia Day.
In a ceremony hosted by Rhoda Roberts, head of indigenous programming for the Sydney Opera House, both flags were raised simultaneously to commemorate the beginning of the Australia Day festivities.
The flags were ushered up the Harbour Bridge by a performance of the Creation Stick Procession. The performance depicted the creation process where Dhurumulun, son of Biyami the creator, was sent down to Earth with one wooden leg which left holes in the ground; it is from these holes in which all life came.
The ceremony was attended by her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO Governor of NSW, Aboriginal Elder and Aboriginal Land Council representative Charles Madden and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Victor Dominello.
"I'm pleased to be here today to witness an historic event, the raising of two flags on Australia day," Mr Madden said.
Ms Bashir spoke about the moving nature of the event and that this is an important symbol in recognising the Aboriginal people. "This is a very moving, deeply felt experience, to be here with you all this morning because it does denote so much symbolism and actual reality of the longest living civilisation of this planet. Lives were changed with the arrival right here of the First Fleet."
Mr Dominello believes that this is how every Australia Day should begin and hopes this ceremony becomes a nationwide tradition.
"I think it's critical, the reality is that the Aboriginal people are the first Australians and you can go anywhere around the world and you will never see the Aboriginal culture, it is uniquely Australian.
"So when we celebrate all that it is to be Australian, part of our collective DNA is our Aboriginal culture, I think it's very appropriate that we start Australia day like this."
|Artist - Colleen Wallace Nungari|
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