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Symbolic gift to the people of Warrnambool

News Article Date: 
Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Aboriginal Elder Uncle Robbie Lowe Senior today presented Warrnambool Mayor Vicki Jellie with a message stick that will welcome visitors to the Civic Centre.

The gift to Warrnambool coincided with National Sorry Day and ahead of events marking National Reconciliation Week which starts tomorrow (May 27).

The timber message stick was made by Uncle Robbie over four weeks and contains the message: “Ngatanwarr, welcome to the Maar Nation”, which is surrounded by intricate etchings.

“It’s a message of reconciliation,” Uncle Robbie said.

“The shape of the message stick is the nation, the notches at the side are the six tribes.

“Four circles depict significant Aboriginal sites at the racecourse, Moyjil, Picnic Point and Levy’s Point-The Cutting.”

The border of the message stick depicts sand dunes.

Message sticks have great significance in Aboriginal culture and were used as a way of communicating across tribes and regions and to help manage large gatherings.

Cr Jellie accepted the message stick on behalf of the Council and said it would be displayed prominently at the entrance to the Civic Centre.

“I would like to thank Uncle Robbie for this gift to the people of Warrnambool,” Cr Jellie said.

“This is a very important symbol.

“It’s a warm welcome to all and a great reminder to everyone that we live in Maar Nation traditional land.

“On National Sorry Day I would like to acknowledge that Aboriginal people have had to endure terrible treatment and discrimination over a long period of time.

“This message stick is an enormously generous gesture of goodwill.

“And as a Council we need to ensure that our decision-making is done with a goal to build reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.”

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