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Monday, 3 March 2003
Page: 12057


Mr LAURIE FERGUSON (9:19 PM) —Some years ago the Auburn Council in my municipality gained a degree of notoriety when it became Sydney's last municipality to raise the Aboriginal flag during NAIDOC week. In the period since then it has made major advances in regard to reconciliation and in facing the realities of being one of Sydney's greatest concentrations of non-English-speaking background people.

Tonight I want to speak about the more positive and sustained efforts by another municipality in my electorate—that is, Holroyd—in regard to recognising Australia's original Indigenous people. Recently the council produced the CD Darug: the people that live between the mountains and the sea. I want to put on the record my congratulations to the entire council, regardless of political affiliations. I congratulate the former mayors Mark Pigram and Peter Herlinger for their work on this, but I especially congratulate the current mayor, Mal Tulloch. He really has a passion for recognising the Aboriginal people and making sure they have centrality in the public events of Holroyd municipality, and he has driven very strongly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Committee, which was established back in 1997.

This CD stems from a 1999 grant from the Western Sydney Area Assistance Scheme to provide an educational resource about the effects of white settlement on local Indigenous people. Its culmination was the launch of the CD last month. The CD-ROM has had the assistance of the University of Western Sydney's Linkwest Ltd and the continuing hard work of the consultative committee of the council. Also, Lucy Maguire, a council officer, has been at the helm throughout the whole project. The CD aims to interrelate and to connect with Aboriginal studies in the New South Wales educational system. It will be provided to libraries and to the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils—which, I should say, is an area that represents more people than the state of South Australia, so that gives you some indication of the dimensions of this project. Also, it will go to the group called Reconciliation for Western Sydney and to local schools.

The CD clearly relates to Aboriginal studies in schools, and more particularly to localised events in the history of white settlement. Amongst those events, of course, is the resistance of Aborigines led by Pemulwuy, who fought heroic battles against the encroachment of whites into the Western Sydney region. The CD also covers the local clans of the 1790s, the vestiges of which survived into the 1840s in some cases; Watkin Tench's visit to the Prospect settlers in 1791; the Aboriginal Blanket Returns up to the 1840s, which show the nature of continuing Aboriginal settlement; and an account of some of the early white settlers. Finally, the CD also covers the 1805 meeting—which many people outside the region would not be aware of—which was a reconciliation meeting between blacks and whites that occurred in the Prospect region.

This is a very historical CD. From recollection, even when you do not take all the alternatives from the main theme it still goes for two hours. This was produced by a council. It was not produced by the National Library, the state government, ATSIC or any other body—it was produced by the Holroyd Council. I want to mention Michael Flynn, the historian who provided much of the material. I am pleased to say that I recently found his unpublished thesis of many years ago and directed it to the attention of the Granville Historical Society. The society will publish his work on Western Sydney Aborigines, which will be another book in a very proud record of publications.

Finally, I will briefly mention the adjacent council of Parramatta, which is also making a massive effort towards Aboriginal recognition. The council conducted last year's Aboriginal film festival. It has a consultation committee and its recent work on the Parramatta River included many Aboriginal motifs in the surrounding vegetation and artworks.