Referendum celebrations in Brungle

The Brungle-Tumut Local Aboriginal Land Council is going all out this weekend, with the 50-year celebration of the 1967 referendum that recognised aboriginals as Australians and gave them the right to vote.

Festivities will go throughout Friday night and Saturday, starting with a ‘Movie on the Mission’ and barbecue at 6pm on Friday night. A bus will leave Cooee Cottage, 182 Wynyard Street, at 5.30pm going to Brungle, and will return to Tumut at 8.00pm. Please call the Land Council Office at 6947 4518 or Cooee Cottage at 6947 3362 to book a seat.

On Saturday night the welcome will take place at 10am, with games held throughout the day. Rounders – played with a broomstick and tennis ball – and a goal kicking competition will take place. There will be lunch and snacks available, and a raffle. On Saturday night there will be a dinner at 6.30pm, followed by a different movie and karaoke.

Land Council Secretary and former Mayor of Tumut Sue Bulger knows firsthand the progress made in terms of society’s treatment of aboriginal people in the five decades since the referendum.

“When I became mayor of Tumut Shire Council, I thought, how amazing is it, to go from mission to mayor?” she said.

“A child who lived on a mission to becoming Mayor. In 50 years, we have come a long way. So we’re going to celebrate!

“We’ve come a long way in 50 years. A long way with Aboriginal land rights, and a long way with Aboriginal people being self-determining and empowering our people. The opportunities that are available to Aboriginal people today are amazing.”

However, as well as being a celebration, the weekend’s activities are also about ensuring people don’t forget this crucial part of the Australian story.

“Some people will remember exactly where they were in 1967 on May 27 when that occurred, whether they voted or whether they didn’t know anything about it or whether they were too young to even know that it was happening,” said Ms Bulger.

“Certainly through school and with information about history they should know about it now, but maybe some people don’t, so we just want to make sure that that part of Aboriginal and Australian history is remembered.”