Executive Director Operations for Ngala, Jenny Allen was privileged to spend time with Ngala’s Carnarvon team, including nine strong, committed Aboriginal people, throughout this year’s National Reconciliation Week, which concluded yesterday. Here she shares with us some of her experiences and conversations over the past seven days.

“At sunrise on Tuesday morning, and again on Wednesday after a luncheon with our team, we visited the children’s statue at the mouth of the beautiful Gascoyne River. This was a moving reminder of the suffering of little children and their families, during a dark part of WA’s history; when Aboriginal parents were separated from their children and taken to Bernier and Dorre Islands.

On Thursday, some of our team walked the old Tramway Footbridge over the Fascine– our very own bridge walk for reconciliation.
One of our staff, Cheryl Moncrieff spoke to us about her memories of the original ‘Walk for Reconciliation 2000’ over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, “it was very touching to see all the people from different walks of life walking over the Bridge and wishing I was part of it. Reconciliation to me is hoping we can close the gap and be as one, not Us and Them.”

Staff member Kay Mongoo also remembers the bridge walk in 2000. “I watched a little bit of it on the TV, but didn’t really know much about what it was for, at that time. I do remember that I felt really excited when I saw how many thousands of people were walking together in unison for Aboriginal people. Reconciliation to me is wanting all people of all races in Australia to bond together and strengthen the relations with each other and live in unity to make our country the best in the world. We need to Close the Gap.”

This week in Geraldton I have had the pleasure of reading ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’, as part of a series of videos created by our Parents and Learning team for the children and families they work with. Parents and Learning (PaL) is a program for Indigenous people, by Indigenous people and is about getting involved in your child’s learning.

Whilst in Carnarvon, Aboriginal Artist Raymond Edney presented us with a beautiful landscape painting he was commissioned to do for our Reconciliation statement for the Gascoyne. We will have this framed and photographed, to be placed on the wall of our new office in Carnarvon.

It has been wonderful to see so many Ngala staff in Perth and in the Midwest and Gascoyne demonstrating their commitment to reconciliation and that we are all “in this together”.

Thanks to the Carnarvon team for always welcoming us to the town they love”.

Jenny Allen.