Wollongong City Council recognises that the original occupants and inhabitants of this land lived in the area for more than 60,000 years. There were a number of clans and tribes speaking several languages and these people exercised traditional rights over the area including the ownership of sacred and significant sites.
The original inhabitants and occupants of the land relied on the sea, the lake and the escarpment to provide much of their food and sustenance for life. Numerous middens are still found in the area giving recognition to the gathering of the traditional owners and inhabitants in this area. The establishment of European settlement has proved disastrous for the indigenous people who suffered attacks from settlers, exposure to new diseases, loss of their land and disruption to their traditional way of life. The Wollongong City Council’s Statement of Commitment is built on the legacy of the traditional owners and inhabitants of these lands and the continuing contribution of the Aboriginal people to the local area.
In making this Statement of Reconciliation and Commitment, Wollongong City Council wishes to acknowledge that it is built on the ideals set out in the Australian Declaration Towards Reconciliation, The Road Map for Reconciliation and the Australian Local Government Association Statement of Commitment.
In making this commitment, Wollongong City Council acknowledges and gives recognition to the fact that this land and its waters were settled as colonies without any treaty or consent; that the Aboriginal people of the area are the first peoples and they have, as a result of the invasion, suffered deep loss and grief caused by the alienation from their traditional lands, the loss of lives, freedom and the forced removal of children. Council also acknowledges the rights of indigenous Australians to live according to their own beliefs and customs and gives due respect and recognition to the continuing customary laws, beliefs and traditions of the indigenous people of the area.
Wollongong City Council supports the people’s movement towards Reconciliation and seeks to give practical expression to this process through its actions. Council also supports working together in partnership with all sections of our community to ensure the principles of equity, access and human rights are provided for all members of the indigenous community through the provision of culturally appropriate services and programs.
As a local government authority, Wollongong City Council commits itself to:
- ensuring local indigenous involvement in events and celebrations of significance which respect the dignity and protocols of the local Aboriginal community,
- the ongoing development of strategies to improve the level of participation of local Aboriginal people in the local Government decision making process,
- ensuring all of its staff through its induction program are exposed to relevant education and cultural awareness to assist in their knowledge, understanding and
- appreciation of Aboriginal cultural heritage and the needs of the Aboriginal community.
- ensuring that the Aboriginal employment strategy continues to be implemented, enhancing the prospects for Aboriginal people to be employed within Wollongong City Council.
- annually celebrating Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week and
- flying the Aboriginal flag in front of its Administrative building.
- actively promoting the protection of Aboriginal heritage and culturally significant areas within the city.
Wollongong City Council acknowledges that the Aboriginal culture continues to strengthen and enrich our community and that the area is now occupied by people who are drawn from many different lands who share the values of tolerance and respect of one another. As a leader of the community, the Council pledges itself to fight against injustice and overcome disadvantage within its area of jurisdiction in an effort to bring about a city which is recognised for its valuing of the community and its history and in the provision of justice and equity for all.
Adopted by Wollongong City Council at its meeting held on 17 April 2001.
Reconilciation Week 2015
On 3 June 2015, Wollongong City Council marked Reconciliation Week wtih an event in Crown Street Mall involving our Indigenous and broader community. This was also the first event in the Illawarra 200 calendar. Below is a short video from the day.