CLOSING THE GAP: Good mates Reuben Klein and Moondara Mason show us what it’s all about during Reconciliation Week.
CLOSING THE GAP: Good mates Reuben Klein and Moondara Mason show us what it’s all about during Reconciliation Week. Renee Pilcher

Close the gap and celebrate culture

YESTERDAY marked the first of what will hopefully be many Reconciliation Week celebrations in Gympie.

Gympie indigenous elder aunty Lillian Burke said yesterday's community celebration held at Gympie South State School would be the founding event for larger-scale annual Reconciliation Week celebrations aiming to close the gap and celebrate culture in the Gympie community.

"This is a very important celebration," she said yesterday, explaining it was a meaningful day to consider the "reconciliation of the indigenous and the non-indigenous people of Gympie".

"I'm proud to be here and a part of it."

"It really makes me feel good."

She said she hoped next year would have additional celebrations in Nelson Reserve and also a walk for reconciliation.

She said yesterday was a special time to "not only celebrate reconciliation, but celebrate recognition, Sorry Day and Mabo's fight".

Yesterday's celebrations at Gympie South State School included indigenous elders and dancers and members of the Gympie community who came together to acknowledge the indigenous and non-indige

nous cultures that make up this region.

More than 30 children from Gympie South, North Coast Region Indigenous Education Unit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Playgroup, Day Care of Auz and Gympie South Early Learning Centre joined in indigenous and non-indigenous activities and experienced indigenous tradition with a performance by traditional dancers.

It was an event primarily organised by North Coast Region Indigenous Education Unit playgroup facilitator Alicia Robinson, Gympie South Early Learning Centre director Katrina Hands and Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Early Childhood representative Sharly Murdoch, who said they were excited to see the event grow.

Indigenous health worker Christopher Gorrie said while reconciliation still had a long way to go nationally, he was glad to say he had not personally experienced discrimination in the Gympie region.

He said events like NAIDOC Week and yesterday's Reconciliation Week celebrations, all of which aim to include all members of the community, go a long way to bringing cultures together in the Gympie region.

"We've got to do it (reconciliation) together," he said, adding Gympie region sporting clubs and other groups embraced multiculturalism, saying support came from "both sides of the fence".