Australia: NRW Celebrations Kick Off in Canberra

NRW Celebrations Kick Off in Canberra

Defence kicked off National Reconciliation Week (NRW) celebrations in Canberra with an inaugural Keynote Address, delivered this year by Army Australian Defence Force Academy Officer Cadet Thomas Boase, himself a member of the Wakka Wakka people from Brisbane. The title of the address was ‘Let’s Talk Recognition.’

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, and Warrant Officer of the Navy, Martin Holzberger, attended the event, and Navy Midshipman Doug Wells played the didgeridoo for the audience.

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is celebrated across Australia each year between 27 May and 3 June. The two dates commemorate milestones in the Australian reconciliation journey – the anniversaries of the successful Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal People) referendum in 1967 and the High Court Mabo decision.

In the Australian Defence Force, the decision to formally self-declare as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage is personal and voluntary. There’s roughly 151 self-declared, uniformed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Navy, and 1116 in the wider Australian Defence Force.

The Royal Australian Navy supports and encourages the recruitment of Indigenous Australians.

Press Release, May 28, 2013; Image: Australian Navy