CFA marks National Reconciliation Week

Member News image


This Friday 27 May marks the start of National Reconciliation Week 2022.


National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

The dates for National Reconciliation Week remain the same each year: 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively. The week-long event is an ideal opportunity for all Australians to explore ways to join the national reconciliation effort.

This year’s theme Be Brave. Make Change. is a challenge to us all to ‘Be Brave’ and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so we can ‘Make Change’ for all.

Reconciliation is a journey for us all. It is about creating safe, inclusive communities and organisations and collectively building relationships with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Hampton Park Fire Brigade member and Kaurna man Benjamin Smeath is a second-generation firefighter who started his firefighting journey in Queensland before moving to Victoria.

“I grew up hanging around station whenever I visited my dad on shift in Queensland. In 2009 I signed up to the Queensland Fire Rescue Service as an Auxiliary Support Officer, then not long after that we moved to a regional location where I joined the Queensland Rural Fire service.

“In 2015 I moved with my wife down to Melbourne and promptly joined Hampton Park Fire Brigade. 

“Ever since then it's been an incredible journey, making new friends and learning so much, all while serving the community. Through the CFA I've had some incredible experiences, from run of the mill fires right up to the Black Summer bushfires.

“Every day that I get on the truck and turn out to a job I have such a sense of pride being able to protect the community.”

Benjamin said it’s important to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within our communities.

“Reconciliation is important to me because for a long time the 'shame' of our heritage kept my family from knowing the truth.

“We didn't find out about our Indigenous background until my great grandma passed away when I was in my mid-teens. Since learning about it, it's something my family has been incredibly proud of and embraced.”

Education around Indigenous culture and issues is vital, Benjamin said.

“I think there needs to be a lot more education in schools. We should be learning about the Australian First Nation heritage first and foremost. From that, a generational shift will happen with acceptance, understanding and pride of our cultures and heritage.”

Benjamin said that Reconciliation Week is a great opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, but also the work still needed to do in this space.

“Reconciliation week is important to recognise as it allows us to remember that the past can't be changed, but it can be remembered and recognised. The future is not yet written, and it's up to us to write it.”

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said that Reconciliation Week is an important milestone to mark.

“National Reconciliation Week allows us to learn more about the rich history of our country and its Traditional Owners,” Jason said.

“I urge all of our members to take stock this week, learn more about our shared history and culture and look at how you can deepen your understanding of issues facing our Indigenous peoples to this day.”


Increase your awareness.


Seek out local events

Seek out other National Reconciliation Week events in your local area by contacting your local government or Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP).

Find some events listed at Reconciliation Australia – 2022 Events


Visible Support

  • Add a virtual background when participating in online meetings, or add this year’s artwork to your email signature
  • Observe an Acknowledgement of Country at your next meeting
  • Respectfully use #NRW2022 and #BeBraveMakeChange hashtags on social media platforms
  • Fly the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander flag at CFA locations - Flag-flying details can be found here: Ceremonial Flags | CFA Members Online
  • Take photos of your event/s and include them in promotional resources and documents, on social media etc


  • Member News imageKaurna man and Hampton Park firefighter Benjamin Smeath
Submitted by CFA News