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Opening of the Tjirbruki Trail Gateway, Adelaide, 30 October 1997: address.

I acknowledge the Kaurna people on whose ancestral land we are gathered for this opening of the Tjirbruki (Tjer-brook-ee) Trail Gateway and the first stage of the Warriparinga project. I thank them for their welcome in both words and dance.

The legend of Tjirbruki is the most important of the surviving Kaurna Dreamings. It is a creation story which tells of the ancestral hero, Tjirbruki who, having avenged the murder of Kulultuwi, (Kool-ool-too-wee) his much-loved nephew, carried his body across the Adelaide plains and hills for internment in a cave at Patparno or Rapid Bay. Where he stopped to rest and mourn, his tears of grief became freshwater springs. Ultimately, deciding he no longer wished to live as a man, he transformed his spirit into a glossy ibis while his body became a rocky out crop.

The Tjirbruki Trail Gateway is both a memorial and a window to the past. A memorial to the traditional ancestor, Tjirbruki. A window to the teaching of his creation story and song cycle. Together, they teach respect for the law and remind us all of the need for true justice and equity in our dealings one with another. And beyond those things, the gateway symbolises the timelessness of Aboriginal mythology by connecting the ancient Dreaming to the contemporary cultural values and future aspirations of the Kaurna people. And it promotes an understanding and sharing of those values and aspirations by all of us, indigenous and non-indigenous alike.

Those of us - both indigenous and non-indigenous - who are now joined together in a crusade for true reconciliation all know that we will not reach our journey's end until our nation has made significant progress towards resolving the current plight of the Aboriginal peoples in relation to practical things such as health, education, employment and living conditions. And how could it be otherwise in a context where the gap between the average life expectancy of an Aborigine and that of a non-Aborigine is almost 20 years and actually widening and where Aborigines are dying from particular diseases at rates up to 12 times or more those of non- - Aborigines? Clearly, we will not achieve reconciliation until we reach the stage where it can be seen that we are at least approaching the position where the life expectancy and future prospects of an Aboriginal baby are in the same realm of discourse as those of a non-Aboriginal one.

But, equally clearly, we have no real prospect of reaching that stage until we also effectively address the terrible problems of the spirit as well as those of the body - the present effects on the spirit and on the self-esteem of Australia's indigenous peoples of all that has happened, all that has been lost and all that has been destroyed during the 2 centuries and more that have passed since the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let us make this moment one of reconciliation between those who are gathered here, both indigenous and non-indigenous. And let us resolve that we will do what we can to ensure that this Tjirbruki Trail Gateway and ceremony will help promote and foster mutual respect and understanding between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians generally. For, if the Gateway and this ceremony do that, they will of themselves represent a step along the broader path towards the genuine and lasting national reconciliation which, I am sure, everyone who is here today earnestly seeks.

And now, with great pleasure, I declare open the Tjirbruki Trail Gateway and the first stage of the Warriparinga project.