Members of the University of Adelaide’s Wirltu Yarlu Aboriginal Education, the Waite campus and broader community came together on the McLeod Lawns on Wednesday 30th January to witness a flag raising ceremony.
This significant event marks the first time that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags have been flown together with the Australian flag at Waite Campus.
“Flying both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags is one of the most widespread and fundamental ways universities recognise and respect Aboriginal people,” said Dean of Indigenous Research and Education Strategy, Professor Shane Hearn.
“These flags are a visual representation of Aboriginal peoples’ connection to their country and an important symbol to welcome Aboriginal people to the University”.
The Ceremony began with a Welcome to Country by Kaurna Elder Uncle Rod O’Brien, followed by a short speech from Professor Hearn. The Australian flag, Aboriginal flag and Torres Strait Islander flag were then raised by Professor Hearn and Interim Dean of the Waite Associate Professor Chris Ford, Kaurna Elders and Cultural Advisors Uncle Rod O’Brien and Rosemary Wanganeen, and Wirltu Yarlu staff members Teegan Bryant and Hamish Press respectively.
“Flying these three flags side by side is an invitation for reconciliation. Indigenous students and staff at Waite Campus will feel both welcomed and proud to see their flags taking this place of prominence and for their non-Indigenous counterparts, it is an invitation to learn more about our country’s shared history,” Professor Hearn said.
“When it was first flown in 1971, it was done so in support of Aboriginal land rights. It’s fitting then, for this flag to be flown above the Waite Campus which is known for pioneering research and study into Australia’s landscape and agricultural potential.
“It’s also here that we have the Waite Conservation Reserve, protecting the unique native plants and animals that were so deeply connected to the Kaurna people of this area.”
The three flags are now installed and flying proudly over the Waite adjacent to the rotunda on the McLeod Lawns.