To kick off National Reconciliation Week, a group of staff members, including our CEO Mark Worthington, embarked on an enlightening historical journey with a walking tour through Redfern. Our guide, Aunty Donna Ingram, a proud Wiradjuri activist, born and raised on Gadigal land in Sydney, considers Redfern her cultural home.

Redfern has long served as the focal point of Aboriginal activism and continues to hold significant importance in Aboriginal people's connection to their identity.

Our walk started at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence where we learned about First Peoples' survival and endurance since the arrival of the first Europeans in 1788.

We discovered the story of Shirley Coleen Smith, "Mum Shirl", a fierce Aboriginal activist and selfless caretaker who provided care and support to numerous individuals in incarceration, affectionately referring to them as her "sons". Despite the requirement of blood relation for visitation rights in prison, Mum Shirl signed in as their mother, eventually earning this title within the broader community. During her lifetime, Mum Shirl raised over sixty children lacking a stable home and enhanced the lives of numerous homeless, disadvantaged, and vulnerable Aboriginal Australians. Her unwavering commitment to aiding the marginalised led to her being acknowledged as an Australian Living Treasure.

We visited the "Tin Humpy" mural by Danny Eastwood and the "Mission Boy Dreams" mural on the Wyanga Aboriginal Aged Care building, based on an etching by Wiradjuri artist Roy Kennedy that portrays his memories of the Warangesda Mission in the Riverina. Our next stop was the Gadigal Information Service building, where we admired the mural of Aunty Sylvia Ingram Scott, Uncle Sonny Edwards, and Aunty Mary Silva, founders of the Wyanga Aboriginal Aged Care Program and esteemed Redfern legends.

Walking in the footsteps of generations past, we gained invaluable insights and deepened our understanding of our shared history, in the pursuit of reconciliation.

A huge thank you to Aunty Donna for sharing her wisdom and guiding us through this enlightening experience. We're honoured to have been part of it.


29 May 2024