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Koori Cultural awareness for District 13 & 12
On Saturday 29 August, over 20 staff and volunteers from across Districts 12 and 13 attended a Koori Cultural awareness session at Badger Creek Fire Station.
The session was delivered by Uncle Bill Nicholson, a Wurundjeri Elder, who took participants on a journey through the history and culture of the Aboriginal people and in particular the Wurundjeri Tribe. Proceedings started with the traditional Smoking Ceremony which is performed as a symbolic and spiritual cleansing custom. The ceremony sees participants move through smoke coming from a traditional fire while a tribal elder plays the clapstick.
Participants then moved inside where Uncle Bill captivated the audience with stories on Aboriginal history, how rivers were formed, traditional culture and traditional burning.
In a statement from Operations Officer Tim Holland, “The session was fascinating and triggered an interest to find out more about the traditional custodians of the land. It’s extremely important for brigades to embrace the CFA Koori Inclusion Action Plan and continue to build a solid partnership with the Aboriginal community.
"I now have a better understanding and appreciation of the Wurundjeri People and can now put things into actions so it’s not just words.”
The day finished with a visit to Country at the Coranderrk Aboriginal Cemetery. Participants visited the grave of William Barak who, in the 1870s, became a leading spokesman for his people and an important negotiator between his people and the government. He was a prominent figure in the struggle for indigenous rights and justice.
Lilydale Captain Warren Davis stated, “I learnt more about Victoria's history in three hours than I have been taught in my lifetime. Uncle Bill had a wealth of knowledge and the way that he shared it today with us was mind blowing.”