A Few Ways To Be Respectful On January 26

At all times Reconciliation SA aims to actively promote deep respect and pride for First Nations culture and connection to country. The importance of unlearning and relearning the truth about Australia’s settlement is essential if we are truly committed to a just and reconciled society.

This is particularly pertinent on Australia Day, where we take great care to ensure that this deep respect is infused into everything that we undertake as part of our commemorations. But in doing so we acknowledge that the 26th of January is a date that, for many, is a reminder of the hurt, trauma and dispossession of First Nations people from this country, which was directly caused by the arrival of Europeans to this land.

Our desire is that Australia Day is a time, above all, for inclusion, as well as an opportunity for a greater understanding of our shared history and how this truth can play a part in the coming together for a unified national identity.

With this in mind, Reconciliation South Australia has developed a ‘STARTER LIST’ on a few ways we can all be respectful on January 26, this list is by no means exhaustive, but provides the beginnings for others to start this important opportunity to learn, respect and cherish the longest living culture in the world.

First Nations involvement in Australia Day Council SA to continue

For the third year running the Australia Day Council of South Australia has given a platform to First Nations people wanting to ensure their voice is heard during the proceedings of January 26.

ADCSA Chief Executive Officer Jan Chorley says this year’s Australia Day theme is encouraging South Australians to “Reflect, Respect and Celebrate. The Story of Us.”

The day will kick off from 8am Set against the picturesque backdrop of Botanic Park/Tainmuntilla with a Smoking Ceremony that will be presented by 2020 Australian of the Year Award nominee, Zibeon Fielding, and performed by world renowned Senior Elder, Major Sumner.  encouraging South Australians to participate with the Dusty Feet Mob and experience truth telling with First Nations peoples.

Attendees will also be treated to songs from the heart by Singer Glenn Skuthorpe, truth telling by Rosemary Wanganeen, and traditional dance from Port Augusta’s Dusty Feet Mob.

“We’ve been working together with members of First Nations communities to ensure a day of meaning is created for all,” Ms Chorley says. “More than ever before, ADCSA encourages every Australian to acknowledge Australia Day in a way that is meaningful to them.”

This particular event is sold out, but the event will be streamed on Youtube for those who are unable to attend in person.

For the full program of event, see below.

 Australia Day 2021 FREE event program - Adelaide:

  • Adelaide Central Market - Thursday 21 January, Friday 22 January, Saturday 23 January:
  • 11am until 2pm at the Market Kitchen. Multicultural cooking demonstrations in conversation with Rosa Mato and Kevin Kropineri, kids activities and interactive art by local artist Cynthia Schwertsik.
  • Rundle Mall – Saturday 23 January, Sunday 24 January, Monday 25 January, Tuesday 26 January:
  • 11am until 2pm at the Gawler Place canopy. Rundle Mall will come alive this Australia Day with a euphony of sounds and sights that tell the story of us. Join us in Gawler Place as we reflect, respect and celebrate through a free daily program of live music, storytelling and participatory art.
  • Tuesday 26 January:
  • As the sun rises on 26 January , connect with the world’s oldest living culture at

the 2021 January 26 Smoking Ceremony at Botanic Park/Tainmuntilla, 8am until 9am with Kaurna Elders.

Bookings essential at australiadaysa.com.au

  • Aus Day in the Arena at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Two shows at 12.30pm and 6.30pm featuring headline act Birds of Tokyo, a Welcome to Country ceremony, civic ceremonies, parade honouring our multicultural communities and frontline workers, Australian Girls Choir and Tutti and Nexus Orchestra conducted by Julian Feraretto.

Bookings essential. Tickets at australiadaysa.com.au.






20/21 State Government Budget Summary

On Tuesday 10 November, the State Government released the 2020/21 State Budget. The Budget included several commitments to support Aboriginal people and communities in South Australia and promote Aboriginal culture.  Key measures included:

  • $3.3 million to support the Aboriginal Community Controlled Sector in South Australia to deliver services and programs to First Nations people under Priority Reform Two of the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, with a further $1.8 million to support the functions of the South Australian Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations Network (SACCON).
  • Funding Aboriginal Community Housing to deliver 40 long-term housing outcomes in Bedford Park as part of a broader $13.6m commitment to support rough sleepers.
  • $873k ‘Return to Country Program’ to support Aboriginal people from remote communities to remain safe and avoid homelessness and displacement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $9.9m to upgrade municipal infrastructure in regional and remote Aboriginal communities, including road repairs, improvements to waste management and community infrastructure upgrades.
  • $50 million to complete the new Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre to be located at the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site (Lot Fourteen).


Additionally, key government agencies also committed to achieving the following targets:

Department of Human Services

  • Commission non-government agencies and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to deliver new Intensive Family Support Services.
  • Develop a new Aboriginal Language Interpreting Service within the Interpreting and Translating Centre.
  • Improve outcomes for Aboriginal young people through culturally responsive services and an enhanced staff training and recruitment strategy.

Department for Health and Wellbeing

  • Embed and sustain Closing the Gap initiatives into core business, including partnering with consumers and non-government organisations to develop collaborative, culturally sensitive care pathways across the northern Adelaide region
  • Review and redesign the model of care for the APY Lands for its implementation.

Department for Child Protection

  • Implement a new pilot service led by one or more Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to provide culturally specific support and training to kinship carers of Aboriginal children and young people.

Department of the Premier and Cabinet

  • Finalise and implement a Closing the Gap (South Australian) jurisdictional action plan.
  • Develop a new South Australian Aboriginal Action Plan for 2021-22.
  • Continue to engage with Aboriginal community leaders and health authorities to help keep remote Aboriginal communities COVID-19 free.


For further analysis of these and other measures of interest to the health and community services sector, you may like to read the State Budget Analysis released by our member organisation, the  South Australian Council of Social Service.

Adelaide PHN get endorsement on Innovate RAP

Aboriginal health is a key priority area for Adelaide Primary Health Network (Adelaide PHN). They work with their commissioned service providers to address health inequities and increase access to culturally appropriate services within the Adelaide metropolitan region.

In 2018, Adelaide PHN committed to establishing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to support their journey to achieve their vision for reconciliation. They aligned with the Innovate RAP as set out by Reconciliation Australia, recognising their sphere of influence by working with the services they commission and establishing the best approach to implement actions to advance reconciliation with Aboriginal communities across the Adelaide region.

After 2 years of consultation with Aboriginal communities, local Elders, Adelaide PHN’s membership groups, stakeholders and staff, they are excited to announce that their Innovate RAP has received final endorsement from Reconciliation Australia.

Their Innovate RAP will span for a two year period from July 2020 – July 2022 and led by an internal working group with support from all portfolios within their organisation.

Adelaide PHN is proud to join over 1,000 other organisations across Australia that have formally committed to reconciliation through the National RAP program.

To find out more and access a copy of Adelaide PHN’s RAP, please visit adelaidephn.com.au/our-work/our-activities/reconciliation-action-plan/.


Interview: Uncle Gordon Franklin, Kokatha man and Military Veteran

Reconciliation SA caught up with Kokatha man and military veteran Gordon Franklin.

Born along the Nullarbor plains, SA, Mr. Franklin and his family eventually moved to the Eyre Peninsula of SA. His family had links to the area, and it was close to the land of the Kokatha people. After some moving around the peninsula, at 14 years of age Mr. Franklin’s father settled in Port Lincoln.

Of that time, Mr. Franklin says “My ambition was to become an electronics engineer, but without being allowed to finish high school, I needed to get an apprenticeship. Because this opportunity was not available to me, I worked as a clerk at the Barley Board.”

Speaking of his youth, Mr. Franklin says “For some reason, we were not forced into the reserves as many of our family and friends were. The government banned us from mixing with those friends and relatives that they had put on the reserves. One of my father's best friend, Uncle Dick, told us many years later that we were the poorer for not having our culture taught to us. Uncle was quite correct in that assumption, sad but true.” Mr. Franklin admits that as a child, his life was culturally barren, however, before his grandfather taught him aspects of his culture.

Recalling a story from his childhood, Mr Franklin says “My father highlighted the difference between our two cultures on a trip to see an Elder, Uncle Mooney Davies at Andamooka near Woomera Rocket Range. [along the way] We met a stranded English migrant. My father stopped to help and gave him half of everything we possessed at the time, food, money and unfortunately petrol. Our old car was gravity-fed, no petrol pump, causing us to have back up the hills until we got to Andamooka.”

Reflecting on his Army days, Mr Franklin says “I joined the Australian Army at Keswick Barracks in May 1964 at age 19 for a six-year term. I left South Australia for the first time to attend recruit training at Kapooka Barracks near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. I trained as an Electronics Technician at Balcombe near Mornington and East Hills in Sydney”. He continues with “In December 1966, I was posted to 103 Signal Squadron Nui Dat in South Vietnam.”

Recalling the tragedies that the Vietnam war reaped on him, Mr. Franklin says, “I had an extraordinary friend I met at recruit training at Kapooka, Signalman Ian "Lofty" Logan.  We were both country boys, Lofty from Mildura and me from Port Lincoln. We celebrated my birthday together at Nui Dat. Lofty was on patrol with an American unit when he died from explosive wounds.” The following month, he continued, “103 Signal Squadron returned to Australia and was replaced by 104 in June 1967. I did have a great mate, Corporal Dennis Connelly, another country boy from Mudgee in NSW in that unit. We met at corps training two years earlier. Dennis helped me with my grief at the loss of Lofty. In August, he was tragically killed and died in my arms. I returned home in time for Christmas.”

Before retiring in 1970 at Keswick, Mr. Franklin recalls his final posting “it was at 110 Signal Squadron at Vung Tau. It was like a holiday camp on the "sandhill". My best friend Paul and I climbed up a huge cliff to take some great photos of the South China Sea. Unknown to us, it was a Rest and Recreation camp for North Vietnamese. After a real fright, when they ran towards their weapons, we sat down and happily showed each other photos of our families while drinking a mug of black tea. I returned home to Keswick in May 1970 and retired.”

Mr. Franklin faced many challenges after he completed his service, “my mates who died in Vietnam left me grief-stricken. I struggled with the many anti-war marches and demonstrations.” He disclosed. Continuing, Mr. Franklins says “My memory was a mess because I still could not remember the last three months of my first tour. In 2008 I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome.”

Work was also scarce, with non-available in Port Lincoln or Adelaide, Mr Franklin found employment in Melbourne as a test technician at Eriksson in the telephone exchange industry. After nearly 20 years working as a technician, he began to drive Taxis, which he did until 2008.

Mr. Franklin then took the War Service Pension, early, to study a Law/Arts degree at Latrobe University which he completed in 2014. He is now doing a Master of Laws degree at La Trobe, and as a casual lecturer, tutors Aboriginal and Torres Strait students at both Deakin and Victoria Universities.

For Mr. Franklin's full interview, click here.



Josh to Spearhead Inclusivity in the Hills

Josh Spier is the Adelaide Hills Council's new Community and Social Planning Officer. Josh explains his new role as “ensuring our district is accessible and inclusive for all people, a key step in strengthening community wellbeing.”

Josh grew up in Bridgewater, in the Adelaide hills. “Even when I moved to a high school in the CBD, I still spent every weekend playing basketball, cricket and music with my ‘Hills mates’” Josh recounts.

While he now lives in the Unley area with his wife and three children, the hills location was a factor when considering the new role. Josh says “what appealed to me most about the role was a desire to give back. I want to brew my background and training in community development and social research together to serve a community and environment I deeply care about.”

Josh taught Indigenous studies at Flinders University. One of his most important memories of this time is the “true collegiality I shared with Indigenous scholars at Flinders.” Josh was privileged enough to co-teach with members of the Unbound Collective, research and performance group.  He worked most closely with Associate Professor Simone Ulalka Tur, Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous).

Josh says that The Collective’s performances move through spaces that “have historically seen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians excluded and reduced to tell untold chapters of Australia’s true history”.

When Josh worked with Associate Professor Tur in 2018, he recalls that “she would spend all week teaching large courses and supporting Aboriginal students, go home and work on her PhD, perform with her activist-art Collective in the evening, and support her family and community. And then, over the weekend, she’d help lead a campaign against a nuclear waste dump in regional South Australia.”

Josh says that he learnt much from Associate Professor Tur. “From my friendship with Simone, I learnt so much about the importance of getting behind Aboriginal-led movements - and the vital role of Indigenous storytellers and activist-artists in achieving social change.”

When it comes to reconciliation, Josh believes that it is about “building friendships”

“Friends listen to one another. Really listen. They laugh and cry together. They stand up for each other. They challenge each other and learn from each other. They work hard together toward shared interests and goals. They know each other.”

He says the words of Brooke Prentis, Waka Waka woman Aboriginal rights activist, express what reconciliation means better than he can:

“The gap is so wide because Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people don’t know each other. We don’t know each other therefore we can’t be friends and I think when you have friendship it’s about relationship and that’s when you get to know each other and you can see a different future, one that’s filled with hope and love … . When you look on an individual basis with your own friends, you would hope that there was truth and love between you. So, for me, we can’t have reconciliation without truth, and therefore we can’t have friendship without truth. With truth and understanding comes justice, and understanding our struggle for justice, and for non-Aboriginal people to come and walk alongside us in fighting for justice.”

Josh’s first priority with the Adelaide Hills Council will be “developing and coordinating the new AHC Disability Inclusion Plan 2020-24. The role is about making sure our community planning guides the hard work that Council need to keep doing – in collaboration with our community and partners - to create inclusive environments that enable health for all. I’ll also be co-designing better strategies to track community wellbeing/needs and the reach of our community services.”

To achieve parts of this, Josh is looking to work with First Nations leaders in the Adelaide Hills.  To explain how he feels about working toward helping others, he quotes Gangulu woman Lilla Watson comes to mind:

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Josh will be working with the Adelaide Hills Reconciliation Working Group (AHRWG) in his new role.  He explains that he sees his work as “aligning with AHC’s Reconciliation Action Plan moving forward. I also see the AHRWG being a resource and brains trust to provide feedback and guidance on all the planning projects I will be coordinating with respect to community wellbeing and inclusion.”

Josh would like to hear from any First Nations peoples who live with disability, and their families, who are interested in giving their feedback on our new Disability Inclusion Plan (DIP).

“We are currently preparing our draft DIP in consultation with staff, the community and the local disability sector. We want our DIP to encompass actions that will improve access and inclusion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability who live, visit or work in the Adelaide Hills.”

To share your thoughts and ideas, you can contact Josh at email jspier@ahc.sa.gov.au.

Artwork brings Ridgehaven Primary School Students Together

Reconciliation SA’s, Education Project Officer – Natalie Gentle’s trip to Ridgehaven Primary School


The August 2020, Reconciliation SA National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Children’s Art Competition provided many students and schools across South Australia an opportunity to explore children’s voices and their connections to their Elders and their role in communities. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day  is a time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities and all Australians, celebrate the strengths and culture of children. It is an opportunity for all of the Australian Community to show support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as well as learn about the crucial impact that culture, family and community play in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child.

Reconciliation SA were overwhelmed by the response to this competition with hundreds of entries that provided a very difficult job for judges.

Artworks submitted spoke to both the theme of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day ” We are Elders of tomorrow, hear our voice”  and demonstrated artistic skills of each of the individual students.

In the hundreds of entries, one piece caught the eye of our judges and team here at Reconciliation SA, however, it fell outside the criteria of ‘Individual Works’ as their submission was a group effort. 

However, the voices of children need to be heard and it was with great pleasure that Reconciliation SA took a trip out to Ridgehaven Primary School to listen too and hear from the students themselves about their art work and what it meant for them.

Throughout the year, Ridgehaven Primary School have been supporting students to research and explore First Nation culture through artistic forms.

During term two a group of children worked on the collaborative art project which brought together their interests, ideas, and understanding of each others cultural similarities and differences. Students explained that they were each given a small part of the canvas each, where they were encouraged to make their mark and share their voice by painting something that was special to them. Students researched different methods of Aboriginal painting, use of symbols and used these ideas to inspire their own painting. The result was a painting that visibly shows each child and their unique connection and contribution to their school and community.

Lawson at just 6 years old, painted a star fish that sat in a clear blue ocean. He said that he

“we need to keep the ocean clean, to make the starfish alive…not putting rubbish in the ocean or food.”

Lawson was very interested in starfish, and especially the fact that starfish can grow their limbs back. It was important to him that these animals were cared for, and that the ocean was a place where some of his favourite animals could thrive.

Charlie, 12 years old, was proud of the work achieved by his peers. “When you look at it from far away, it looks perfect”. Charlie chose to paint a snake

“there are so many things a snake can do – it sheds, it’s a hunter, its very fierce for something so small… because I’m not that big, but I like to be in rough things, I think the snake represents me a lot.”

Charlie was most excited that he got to see the end product before anyone else.

Jashyamae 13 years old, wanted to pay tribute to her late brother, and chose to paint a lizard.

“His favourite animal was a lizard. He always had like 6 of them as pets.”

A group of siblings contributed to the painting together, and this gesture was important to all of them.

Other children used the painting as a way of connecting to their Aboriginal culture. Jeramiah 13 years old chose a boomerang, as he enjoyed connecting with his family when they showed him how to use one, and how to hunt with one.

The younger children used the painting to connect with each other, with sisters Jazmia and Hannah Rose painting handprints that were next to each other on the painting. Jazmia was thrilled that her ideas were heard, when she decided last minute to change the way she was painting the handprint.

“It was a really funny story. I told Ms Bruer that I actually have a different idea, and that I wanted to paint my hand and press it on the painting. Ms Bruer got so excited and it made me laugh for the rest of the day.”

While the painting was an opportunity to express their individuality, the children also got to use it as an opportunity to share their identity. Jeramiah was more excited to share the artwork of his peers, and how they were all connected as a group. He explained that at the top of the painting was a meeting between all the older kids, and then a river flowed down the middle of the painting to a meeting of the younger children.

Charmaine Bruer has been the Aboriginal Education Teacher at Ridgehaven Primary School for 8 years and has appreciated the opportunity to build relationships with the students and watch them grow. This art project has been a culmination of that time, as several students are moving on to secondary school next year, and have spent their entire primary school lives visiting Ms Bruer’s office, and working with her to be prepared for their next schooling step.

One of Charmaine’s priorities has been to support conversations, research and narratives about heritage and ancestry. Creating artwork has been a way to build relationships with the children, and to appreciate different forms of Aboriginal artwork. What has resulted is a group of children that are proud of their Aboriginal identity, and are keen to learn more about themselves. Harmony has developed a sense of pride, saying “I used to be really shy, but I learned to build up my courage.”

As a final question, I asked the students about what they thought this years theme “We are the elders of the future, hear our voice” meant to them, and could mean to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. With a new focus on closing the gap initiatives, and a particular focus on school performance, now more than ever it is important to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in decisions that will ultimately impact their lives, and allow them to share ideas that will improve their schooling lives.

Jashyamae reflected that focusing on Aboriginal children’s voices is

“a good thing, because not many Aboriginal voices are heard. I feel happy and proud that people want to hear our voice and hear what we have to say. It is important to listen to the younger generation.”

If we can take anything from this group work, it is that children need an opportunity to express their opinions and share them with adults who can influence decisions for them. This does not always need to be conversation, as allowing children to explore meaning through visual art is a powerful way for them to share their identity and explore who they are.


Reconciliation SA would like to acknowledge that this competition could only be made possible with sponsorship of the Department for Child Protection.

Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky brings Steven Oliver to Raukkan, South Australia

Reconciliation SA’s Productions and Events Coordinator Travis Akbar’s reflections on ‘Looky Looky, Here comes Cooky”.


For a long while now, Steven Oliver has been a regular on Australian TV screens in one way or another. Be it Black Comedy or Faboriginal, the wordsmith is captivating at all times, and that quality does not waver in new documentary, Looky Looky, Here comes Cooky.

Directed by Steven McGregor, whose credits include, Sweet Country, Black Comedy, Mystery Road and the Croker Island Exodus, this new take on James Cooke’s arrival, is a great excuse to sit down in front of the tube.

It is an ever-appropriate year for such a production, as 2020 marks the 250th anniversary to James Cook’s arrival, but is his arrival told the way it happened, or was some of the story cooked? Or as we like to term ”Truth Telling”.

This is the question asked by Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky, but in a very Steven Oliver way. What Oliver attempts to do throughout the film, is create a modern-day song line, Oliver says “Songlines should be a part of ‘Australian’ history as they’re taught in school”. A songline, as Oliver put’s it “details the creation of this land, and all that’s upon it”.

Oliver does this by working with renowned First Nations artists and musicians to craft modern songlines. A songline for the 21st century that can speak to the First Nations perspective behind James Cook’s arrival.

One of the musicians in particular that Oliver speaks and collaborates with is Daniel Rankine whom to some is better known by his rap moniker, Trials MC, from the Funkoars and A.B. Original.

For Rankine, this project is about the “continuation of knowledge. How we survived, and who we are”. He also discusses the history of the pre-colonial, and current home of Ngarrindjeri – Raukken – which is 150km East of Adelaide. Raukken is a beautiful place, and holds a lot of history, which Rankine speaks of with passion. He also recounts racist experiences as a youngster, at friend’s houses.

Oliver’s experience with Rankine is only one of several. He speaks with other artists, and musicians, Birdz (Butchulla Nation), Mo’Ju (Wiradjuri Nation), Alice Skye (Wergaia Nation),  Mau Power (Torres Strait islander Dhoebaw man of the Guda Malullgal Nations) and Uncle Kev Carmody (Bundjulung/Lama Nations) before each of them lend their musical talents to the film with a song. Oliver also interviews Elders, historians and more throughout the film, creating not only a beautiful film, but an informative one too.

The drone cinematography of Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky is also beautiful. Long sweeping shots of the coastlines, and landscapes by Leuke Marriot and Owen Andrews really enhance the films appearance.

Direction from Steven McGregor is also great. He is able to create a positive, and relaxed atmosphere, making this part-comedy, part-history documentary a joy to watch.

Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky is available to watch for free via the SBS On Demand streaming app.