Reconciliation Week: ‘If you don’t work together, you can’t make the rope’
As part of Reconciliation Week, the Murray Bridge Community Centre has run an art and craft workshop with a reconciliation theme.
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The Murray Bridge Community Centre has done its bit for reconciliation through a workshop involving art and craft with an Aboriginal flavour.
Ngarrindjeri and Kokatha man Harley Hall launched the workshop with a welcome to country and smoking ceremony and then played didgeridoo.
This was followed by different art and craft activities in the peaceful front room of the community centre, with Pine Park in view and mellow pop songs played by locals, including Maori woman Valanique Callaghan.
Community Centre mental health worker and activities coordinator Cassie Raggatt said that one of the main activities at the workshop was the creation of two large artworks by a variety of attendees.
“One we’ll give to the Ngarrindjeri elders in the community as part of our reconciliation activities, and one we’ll hang up in the community centre,” she said.
“Our region has a very big Aboriginal community – we’re on their land, and I want to make it a better place.”
Workshop attendee Shelly Long appreciated the workshop.
“I found it a really good morning with people of different cultures and with Harley, my nephew, welcoming us to country,” she said.
“Everyone joins in: they’re good here… and they all speak to you and make you welcome.”
Attendee Jean Phillips painted a gum leaf in an Indigenous style, in which she depicted a blue lake “like Lake Eyre”, a trail in the middle, waterholes, and sandhills around Maree, where she visited in 2000.
“Reconciliation’s about the two of us accepting who we are and working together,” Ms Phillips said.
“Slim Dusty’s song Rainbow on the Rock says it all: at the end, it says, ‘we have to believe together’.”
The grandparents of another workshop attendee, Sandy Mac, were some of the first European settlers in Pompoota; Ms Mac said her grandfather had used to teach Ngarrindjeri people the Irish jig at corroborees on the banks of the River Murray.
The Ngarrindjeri would canoe to her grandparents’ homestead with fish they’d caught, and her grandfather would give them sheep in exchange.
During the workshop, Haven community partner Helen Mattick made friendship bracelets from quandong pods and string in Aboriginal colours; making the bracelets required two people.
“If you don’t work together, you can’t make the rope,” Ms Mattick said, aptly.