Charlotte Rosemary and Michelle Ringland from Maclean Public School make their mark at Yamba breakwall in yesterday’s Reconciliation Week gathering.
Charlotte Rosemary and Michelle Ringland from Maclean Public School make their mark at Yamba breakwall in yesterday’s Reconciliation Week gathering.

Giving reconciliation a hand

THERE was once a time when children swam freely in the blue waters of the Clarence, with fish jumping into the air all around them.

Lillian Williams, a respected member of the Aboriginal community, is one person who can remember the magic of these times.

Also known as Aunty Lil, it was she who welcomed the people who gathered for the “Make Your Mark” event yesterday morning.

The occasion was held at the Yamba breakwall and was part of Reconciliation Week and also marked the third anniversary of Sorry Day.

Clarence Valley Council Aboriginal community development officer Grace Clague was one of the main organisers of the event and said while the weather was a little undesirable, it was a great day.

Among those present were Mayor Richie Williamson, Councillor Karen Toms and also students from Maclean Public School.

Uncle Ron Heron from Yamba said: “It was an opportunity to have our voice heard in the community.”

He explained it was a good time for his people to be together because they don’t get to see each other much, “apart from funerals”.

Uncle Ron related how the day held special meaning for the Yaegl people of Yamba and Maclean.

“We were coming together to express the struggles we’ve been through, but also to celebrate the path of reconciliation we are now walking on,” he said.

A highlight of the event was when people marked the breakwall with coloured paints, which represented the unity between two peoples.

“We all walked out and put our hands on the rocks – red, yellow, white, orange, green and blue handprints,” said Uncle Ron.



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