Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Indigenous stockmen and stockwomen recognised as Reconciliation Week kicks off

The Australian Government is providing $150,000 to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre to research the history of Indigenous stockmen and stockwomen.

Over the next 18 months the centre will begin researching and collecting the stories of Indigenous stockmen and stockwomen, creating a collection to showcase their role in shaping Australia’s pastoral industry.

The centre will provide a scholarship for a PhD student to travel across Australia to meet Indigenous stockmen and stockwomen and visit regional and remote Indigenous communities to collect stories to become part of a future display.

As kids, we grow up with the tradition of Australian stockman – Outback heroes, skilled horsemen and women, who are resourceful, independent and fearless. Many of them were and continue to be Indigenous stockmen and women – whose knowledge of the land helped found the pastoral industry in this country.

They are everyday heroes whose heritage lives on today among Indigenous people. It is time to acknowledge and celebrate their place in Australia’s history.

The new research project was launched to mark the first day of National Reconciliation Week 2010, from 27 May to 3 June, which encourages positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

This Friday also marks an important 10 year anniversary. On May 28, 2000, more than 300,000 people walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in support of saying sorry and creating a new relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Tomorrow Reconciliation Australia will launch a new public awareness campaign that encourages Australians to recommit to reconciliation – to respect our differences and celebrate our diversity.

Central to the campaign is the unfinished OZ website, where people can register their support, connect with other like-minded people across Australia and find out practical ways to get involved in reconciliation.

Reconciliation Australia receives major support from the Australian Government with $10.8 million in funding over three years announced in the 2009-10 Budget.

The Government is also announcing today $10,000 to sponsor the United Nation’s Media Peace Award for the promotion of Aboriginal reconciliation.

The award acknowledges Australian journalists whose work stimulates positive public awareness of reconciliation, encourages change in public and private policy, and leads to a deeper understanding of the rights of, and issues affecting, Indigenous Australians.