New flags raised for NAIDOC at Gympie Hospital

Darren and Russell Bennett at the flag raising at Gympie Hospital on Monday.
Darren and Russell Bennett at the flag raising at Gympie Hospital on Monday. Tanya Easterby

FOR the first time four flags have been lifted on new poles at the Gympie Hospital for NAIDOC week

NAIDOC week, from July 7 to14, is a celebration of indigenous culture and heritage and provides an opportunity to promote understanding and awareness among all Australians.

NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Day of Observance Committee.

To signal the commencement of NAIDOC Week, a flag raising event was held at the front entrance of the Gympie Hospital on Monday.

The flag raising ceremony was followed by a morning tea and an opportunity to celebrate with staff and local community elders.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hospital liaison officer Christopher Gorrie said this year's theme proudly celebrated the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions to the Federal Parliament.

In August 1963 a petition presented as a pair of bark paintings was sent to the Australian Parliament, signed by 13 clan leaders of the Yolngu region (Gove Peninsula) of the Northern territory.

There had been many earlier petitions from Aboriginal people to Australian parliaments.

The bark petitions were the first to use traditional forms.

The 1963 petition was the first in a series of bark petitions that have been presented to Australian prime ministers and the Commonwealth parliament over the years in 1968, 1988, 1998, and 2008.

The 1963 bark petitions, the only ones to have been formally recognised, are exhibited in Parliament House in a ceremonial hall that also houses the Magna Carta and the Australian Constitution.

NAIDOC is also a time to reflect on achievements so far and to renew commitments to reconciliation by exploring ways to help create a better future for indigenous Australians, especially in regard to health issues.

Queensland Health is committed to improving early detection and treatment of illnesses, addressing the risk factors for chronic disease and building sustainable partnerships with communities.