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Mayor's Proclamation Day speech
I am proud to stand here today as the Mayor of Holdfast Bay to commemorate this significant occasion.
And in doing so, reflecting on the journey that has brought us to this particular place, on this date – and the journey that lies ahead.
This day - the 28th of December – has signified many different things to different people.
This gathering was once about celebration.
More recently, it has become about commemoration.
For me, it is also about reflection and connection.
Connection with our past.
Connection with our future.
For us as South Australians, we have a connection with this date.
It was when the state of South Australia was proclaimed 186 years ago.
We may also have a connection to the people who came before us, from faraway lands, and who made Australia their home.
For others, there is a connection to the land on which we stand. And a connection to this area which is known as Patha Yukuna – or crooked gum.
For all of us here today, we have a connection to each other.
And by listening to the words and stories shared by Senior Kaurna man Mickey Kumatpi Obrien, we now have a connection to our state’s shared history, through the eyes of the Kaurna People.
Over several years, the City of Holdfast Bay has forged an incredibly strong connection with the Kaurna Nation and for that, I am truly grateful.
This relationship prompted Council to formalise policies around diversity, anti-racism, and social inclusion that were passed unanimously earlier this year.
At the beginning of the anti-racism policy, Council formally acknowledges the Letters Patent and recognises that this document was not upheld.
In the spirit of truth-telling, this policy acknowledges fact, while also seeking to stand against racism and ensure Holdfast Bay is welcoming to all people.
The respectful relationship we have built with Kaurna is based on trust and a shared vision – to present the truth of colonial South Australia and the truth from a Kaurna perspective, equally.
Last year, for the first time, Kaurna Elder Jeffrey Newchurch accompanied me in hosting this commemoration and I am honoured to have him by my side again today.
This shared vision is on show for all to see at Glenelg’s Bay Discovery Centre with the permanent exhibition, Tiati Wanganthi Kumangka or Truth-Telling Together.
The exhibit has garnered global accolades and forces us to connect with the truth of the past of our state.
But its mission is not to shame people.
Rather, it is about helping them understand the truth of the state’s proclamation, the truth of that day for the Kaurna People, and forging ahead together, with reconciliation and peace.
There is another story of connection that can be found in today’s program of events, titled The Meeting.
The story harks back to December 1836.
Several days after the HMS Buffalo landed at Holdfast Bay, Governor Hindmarsh’s secretary, George Stevenson, met an Aboriginal man, Ngutinai.
It is said that Stevenson invited Ngutinai to accompany him on board the HMS Buffalo, where they shared a meal, including fried fish and plum pudding.
Ngutinai expressed great delight when he heard the flute and the piano being played.
It is thought that Ngutinai was one of three leaders for the Kaurna at the time of colonisation.
We will never know what other events took place at the meeting – that moment of connection between the two men.
But we do know what happened to the Kaurna People after Proclamation.
We do know that we have to accept the truth.
And to quote Jeffrey Newchurch:
Once you start the journey with accepting each other’s truths, accepting the truths of the past, then you start that journey of talking together, walking together.
I invite you all to talk together, and walk together, not only today but always.