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The Aborigines Advancement League (AAL) hosting The NAIDOC 2023 Flag Raising Ceremony

This morning at the Aborigines Advancement League (AAL) they hosted the NAIDOC 2023 Flag Rising Ceremony which brought a large crowd to their doors. Mob, visitors, dignities and Elders came from far and wide to be in this sacred place where for many years community has gathered to honour those who have fought for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders rights. This is hollowed ground where Respect, Self Determination and community is valued.

Leigh Saunders, AAL Deputy CEO commenced the days ceremony with an Acknowledgements & Welcome, with Rob Bamblett on Digeridoo. A minutes silence took place followed by the following elders and dignitaries; President of the Aborigines Advancement League Inc; Uncle Phil Cooper - Darebin Mayor Cr Julie Williams - AAL Board member and Respected Elder; Uncle Keith Randall.

The Victorian NAIDOC Awards are about celebrating hard work by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the contributions they have made to the Victorian community have been awarded to:

• NAIDOC Female Elder – Ada Peterson, Barkindji, Ngiyampaa, Kullilli. • NAIDOC Male Elder – Alan Thorpe, Gunnai • Mr NAIDOC – Brodie Murray, Wamba Wamba • Miss NAIDOC – Milla Morgan, Wiradjuri, Yorta Yorta • NAIDOC Sportsperson – Elvis CARTER, Ngarrindjeri • LGBTIQA+ Pride TBA later in the Week.

The NAIDOC Week 2023 theme was chosen to reflect the important role that elders play in the lives of Indigenous Australians. All NAIDOC mob spoke about the importance of elders and how honoured and privileged they are to be awarded such a responsibility. The final speaker was Aunty Pam who was attending for the first time and spoke about her father and family and now as an elder she walks in there footprints.

In 1957 the Aborigines Advancement League (AAL) was established by Sir Pastor Doug Nicholls, Doris Blackburn, Stan Davey and Gordon Bryant in response to the plight of the Aboriginal people in the Warburton Ranges. When Sir Pastor Doug Nicholls travelled to Western Australia with a Victorian representative side of Australian Rules footballers in 1935 he was shocked at the poverty, malnutrition and disease he saw among the Aboriginal people there. The Australian government in 1946 announced plans to establish a rocket range in Central Australia that would fire its missiles across the Great Central Reserve and the Warburton Ranges Mission, so when Sir Pastor Doug Nicholls reactivated his protests about the plight of the WA Aboriginal people and lobbied against it.

The AAL’s initial objectives were to achieve citizenship rights for Aborigines throughout the Commonwealth, to work towards the integration of Aboriginal people with the rest of the community while fully recognising the unique contribution the AAL was able to make, to attempt to co-ordinate the different Aboriginal welfare organisations operating in Victoria, and to establish a general policy of advancement for Aboriginal people.

There were fifty branches of the AAL established, including:

(Neerim, Murtoa, Geelong, Brunswick-Coburg, Noble Park, Greensborough, Brighton, Carlton, Boronia High School, Beaufort High School, Castlemaine High School, Shepparton/Goulburn Valley, Blackburn, Kew, Diamond Valley-Research, Knoxfield, Nunawading, Beaumaris, Chelsea, Frankston, Glen Iris, Glen Waverley, Kilsyth, Alice Springs, Toorak Teachers College, Mordialloc, Mornington, Parkdale, Northcote, Footscray, Laverton, St Albans, Sunshine, Alexandra, Ballarat, Benalla, Charlton, Echuca, Horsham, Kaniva, Minyip, Ocean Grove, Rupanyup, Moe, Morwell, Sale, Devonport, Launceston, Sheffield, Eltham)


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