SUNSHINE, 'Songlines' and splendiferous company converged on the Bowral Public School hall to stamp the first 'Recognise' footprint firmly in the Southern Highlands at the community forum on Saturday, March 23.
Gibbergunyah Aboriginal Association, working with the Wingecarribee Reconciliation Group, attracted about 200 people to the Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Event.
A spectacular forum opening showcased a depth of talent and strength in local young people as Emma and Jayden from the Bowral Public School Gurangatch Boori's welcomed guests.
Upstanding, the crowd was as one, when the Kangaloon Public School performed the National Anthem in Aboriginal language and English.
The Gundungurra Dreaming Story 'Mirrigan and Gurangatch' was respectfully retold by the Gurangatch Boori's and Miss Taliah King uplifted hearts with a performance of 'I Am Australian'.
Ms Jody Broun, the Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples and ex-officio member of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples presented a strong 'Recognise' position in her address to the community forum.
An impressive panel joined Jody Broun on the stage and lively perspectives were expressed by chairperson of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council Uncle Roy 'Dootch' Kennedy, Ambassador for Reconciliation NSW Mr Colin Markham, Liberal Candidate for Throsby Larissa Mallinson and Mr Jonathan Captain-Webb, Dunghutti man studying law at the University of New South Wales.
Uncle Roy 'Dootch' Kennedy said: "Australia Day should not change as it marked a place in Australia's history, but there should be a national public holiday for an Aboriginal Day."
Aunty Sandra Brooks from Gibbergunyah said bringing the successful 'Recognise' campaign into our own backyards was amazing.
"Having the conversation with Australians, about Australians, for Australians was a natural discourse taking us on a National Identity journey," Aunty Sandra said.
"Recognise knows no boundaries and the compelling feedback from the forum is people want the dialogue to continue. There was a groundswell of support from the forum to hear all perspectives.
"In the Wingecarribee the 'Recognise' forum is the focus of a 30 minute documentary by Gibbergunyah Aboriginal Association and Short Black Films.
If you want to get up to speed and hear what the issues are and how the 'Recognise' Forum unfolded catch up on Youth Radio 92.5FM for the premiere of the special four-part Recognise program.
Keep your eye on www.youthradio.org.au and 'Turn it On' for the program schedule coming up in April 2013.
Aunty Sandra Brooks from Back2blacK Highland FM 107.1 will broadcast the encore 'Recognise' forum in Reconciliation Week 2013 on Thursday, May 30 from 6pm to 8pm.
The next local 'Recognise' event is hosted by Wingecarribee Reconciliation Group on Saturday, April 13 at the Annual Flag Raising Ceremony at Gibbergunyah Reserve.
More details at www.wrg.org.au"Recognise has given all Australians an opportunity to talk to each other, and sharing our diverse perspectives identifies common ground," Aunty Sandra said.
"The forum opened the floodgates and events are being planned in Sydney and the Illawarra to continue the 'Recognise' yarns'
"The Act of Recognition Bill has a sunset clause of two years to take the Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to a successful referendum."
For more information about 'Recognise' or to host an event, visit www.recognise.org.au where you can join the growing supporters list.