Now More Than Ever: National Reconciliation Week 2024

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) offers all Australians the opportunity to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements. It encourages everyone to explore ways we can individually and collectively contribute to reconciliation in Australia.

This year's theme, ‘Now More Than Ever’ reminds us of the need to continue to advocate for justice and for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is crucial to understand and grow relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and this involves coming together, learning from one another, and celebrating the rich diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures that surround us. 

How are we supporting reconciliation at Balmain & Co? 

Reconciliation is about strengthening the connections between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples for the benefit of all Australians. A very important way that we can support reconciliation is through education and as the theme states, ‘Now More Than Ever’ the importance of education, acknowledgment and support is evident. Here are a few of the areas our team focussed on in relation to Indigenous culture:

Significant Historical Dates

National Reconciliation Week is observed annually from 27 May to 3 June, marking two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey:

- The successful 1967 referendum 

- The High Court Mabo decision

To learn more about the two milestones respectively: 1967 Referendum Factsheet and Mabo Day Factsheet

Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners

One step we can all take towards reconciliation is acknowledging the traditional owners and ongoing custodians of the land where we live, work and play. The AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia is a great guide for discovering the traditional owners of the land across different areas of Australia.  Something we can continue to do in construction to pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the traditional custodians and owners of the land is to continue to hold a Welcome to Country or Traditional Smoking Ceremony before we commence on a job site. For more information about this visit:

Exploring Indigenous History and Culture

Indigenous Australians have called this land home for over 65,000 years, cultivating a rich and diverse cultural heritage. Their history encompasses a vast array of traditions, knowledge systems, and deep spiritual connections to the land and its resources. By learning about this extensive and profound history, non-Indigenous Australians can foster greater understanding, respect, and reconciliation between the two communities.

A few activities that are easily accessible include:

- The Trails of Feeling tour is an interactive walking trail that emphasizes local Aboriginal histories, stories and beliefs based in Melbourne CBD. 

- The First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Melbourne Museum was developed with guidance from the First Peoples Yulendj Group of Elders and community representatives, who contributed their knowledge, stories, culture, objects, and images. Tours can be taken in person or virtually. 

- If you’re into reading, here’s a few award winning books written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors: The Yield by Tara June Lynch, Growing up Aboriginal in Australia, Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko, The White Girl by Tony Birch.

Reflection on National Sorry Day

Observed on the 26th of May (the day before Reconciliation Week), National Sorry Day encourages Australians to remember and acknowledge the mistreatment of the country's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Commemorating this day is a crucial part of the ongoing reconciliation process, fostering understanding and learning from the mistakes of the past. 

Reconciliation Australia has an informative fact sheet available here if you’d like more information about National Sorry Day. 

Getting Involved for NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from the 7th through to the 14th of July 2024. 

In Conclusion

National Reconciliation Week serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. For us at Balmain and Co it provided an opportunity to reflect on our nation's history, acknowledge past injustices, and continue to commit to meaningful actions that foster unity and respect. By celebrating shared achievements and confronting challenges with honesty and empathy, we aim to contribute to a more inclusive and equitable future.

Date May, 2024