More than 100 people of all ages celebrated the 17th annual Koori Flag Raising and Mirror Flash ceremony on April 13.
The event acknowledges the traditional owners of this land, the Gundungurra & D'harawal peoples and has occured in this country for thousands of years.
After walking into the Gibbergunyah, to nin garang thurree currobung (The Place Between the Rocks), Aunty Trish Levett conducted a Welcome to Country, followed by Smoking Ceremony with Aunty Wendy Lotter; and a Cleansing dance accompanied by James Steffen & Patrick Logan on didgeridoo, where the Koori and Torres Strait Islander flags were raised.
Ecopella, the local a capella group, then performed their very moving Acknowledgement Song and Listen Deep to the Land.
Kirli Saunders, a local Gunai poet and author who was raised on Gundungarra land read some poems in the Gundungurra language.
"Growing up in Mittagong we regularly had walks on Mt Alexandra. I have done many poetry readings, but this is by far my favourite poetry reading. I have so much love for reading poems in the bush. So many of them were written here," she said.
Kirli has been working with First Nations students and poets to express themselves in their First Nations languages for the Poetry in First Languages project.
Hearing the Gundungurra language, in the setting of Gibbergunyah as part of the acknowledgment of the traditional owners created a powerful resonance throughout the audience who applauded enthusiastically.
Following the flag rasing, everyone moved to the Gundungurra Lookout, where Jethro Leevers flashed the mirror to the Blue Mountains People for Reconciliation at Leura. It was confirmed via mobile phone that the flash was being seen in the Blue Mountains, over 80 kms away.
Unfortunately, due to smoke haze and clouds over, the Blue Mountains mirror flash was unable to be seen from the Gundungurra look out.
Aunty Wendy said she was looking forward to more people joining at the next Koori Flag raising ceremony and Mirror Flash on April 11 2020.
"Every year we come together for this event. Every year it is different. However, every year we commemorate the Gundungurra & D'harawal peoples as the traditional owners of this country and pay respect to their Elders past, present and future," she said.
We have poetry, we have discussion and sharing of knowledge. This year we had the smoking ceremony, the flagraising, the didgeridoo, the poetry, the dancing and another successful mirror flash.
"It is obvious the pleasure people gain from being in such a beautiful environment as Gibbergunyah is the reason that so many come along.
"Thanks once again to CareAway Tours who provided a bus and driver for people unable to walk into nin garang thurree currobung; to Aunty Trish for the Welcome, James & Patrick on the didgeridoos for their contribution; Jethro for the organisation and mirror flash; Aunty Wendy; to Leon & Heather from Soundlabs Group for the PA and all those who provided food and drinks to share; and to all the people who made the effort to come along and enjoy the afternoon."
For more information about the Wingecarribee Reconciliation Group, Flag Raising or reconciliation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.