Eora Journey Oral History Project Thank You Reception

(3.30pm, Tuesday 11 November 2014, Lady Mayoress Room)

Thank you, Lisa, [Murray, MC]. Good afternoon, everyone, welcome to Town Hall.

And most of all, a very warm welcome to Fabri Blacklock and all those who so generously shared their stories with her. Without your participation, the stories would have been lost, so as a small recognition, we have certificates of appreciation which I'll give you shortly.

This collection of oral histories is an important part of our Anzac centenary commemorations and it illuminates aspects of Australia's service history that have been woefully under-recognised till now.

We are starting to remedy that, however, and just a few weeks ago, we had a sod-turning ceremony for Tony Albert's major artwork in Hyde Park that will honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women. We aim to have the work completed and installed for next year's centenary of Anzac as a major component of our Eora Journey pathway through the city.

These oral histories will prove the truth of that artwork as they reflect personal and family stories from war-time sacrifices and service - from Changi to the Battle of Long Tan, from the Solomon Islands to the Middle East, from Africa to Europe.

There are 13 of them, collected by Fabri, added to three earlier interviews carried out by our former Oral Historian, Margo Beasley.

And the collection also includes interviews with Tony Albert and, importantly, with Pastor Ray Minniecon, who for many years has been such a steadfast advocate for recognition of the Black Diggers. His role demands our special recognition and gratitude.

The audio of the interviews, along with photos and transcripts, are now accessible on the City's Oral Histories website, where they join the earlier interviews.

In this centenary year of the Great War, the City is committed to honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have served in conflicts and helped keep the peace, from the time of the Boer War to the present day.

So once again, thank you to everyone who has taken part in this. And thank you also to Lisa and the City's History Unit who commissioned this work last year.