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NUNS HONOUR MILITARY HERO

The Sisters of Mercy in Boundary Street, Parramatta, recently held a ceremony of reconciliation to dedicate their garden to the Aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy.

Pemulwuy was an extraordinary warrior who resisted the British for more than 14 years in the areas around Parramatta, Castle Hill
and Toongabbie.

The Sisters welcomed members of the Darug people to the gathering, as well as other Aboriginal community leaders, Mercy sisters, families and friends, representatives of the Parramatta Reconciliation group and the local Federal Member, Mr Laurie Ferguson, MP.


L­R: Father Paul Hanna, Sister Margaret Hinchey, Mrs Mavis Halvorson, Sister Catherine, sister Valda, Mr Wes Marne and Mr Greg Simms.

Darug elder Mavis Halvorson welcomed those present to country and wished everyone an enjoyable time. Community elder and storyteller Wesley Marne began proceedings with a smoking ceremony.

Sister Margaret Hinchey said that there were many monuments to Australians who had fought in the World Wars and other conflicts overseas, but few, if any, remembered those who had fought and fallen in this country defending their own land and people.

Wes Marne spoke about some of the brilliant exploits of Pemulwuy and the difficulty that the British had in capturing him. When they did, in 1802, they beheaded him and sent his head to Britain where it still remains.

'His spirit will not be at rest,' Wes Marne said, 'until his remains are returned and buried in his country.'

The Sisters also named their house in the Darug language. Mavis Halvorson gave the name 'Wiangaberong' which means 'Sisters' place'. Father Paul Hanna of the Holy Family community Mt Druitt spoke of the age and beauty of Australia and of the need tob remember that it is our privilege to have the oldest continuing culture on earth still present and active through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

A special feature of the celebration was the contribution of two Aboriginal artists. Jamie Eastwood designed and painted the name plaque for 'Wiangaberong'. Greg Simms did a special painting for the Pemulwuy garden. The Bundah Bunna dancers delighted everyone with their welcome dance and creation story dances.



Fr Hanna and the Sisters, Mavis Halvorson and Wes Marne then went through the house together doing the traditional rituals of Christian blessing and Aboriginal smoking. The ceremony ended with those present making a pledge to work for reconciliation and some final dances from Bundah Bunna, followed by a sausage sizzle.

'Reconciliation is a matter of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people coming together in friendship,' Sr Margaret said. 'We need to acknowledge the truth of our history and the suffering and loss of Aboriginal people.

'We can then move on together to make Australia a place where peace and justice are a reality. This was our small way of doing that at a local level.'

FOLLOW CORROBOREE 2000 ON SBS TV

SBS TV is planning a national live broadcast of the whole two days of Corroboree 2000 in Sydney.

 

Program details can be found at Council's website:

www.reconciliation.org.au

Join us by tuning in!

 

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