Journey to Recognition drawing near to Gumbaynggirr country

Aden Ridgeway and Uncle Martin Ballangarry meet up in traditional home Country.
Aden Ridgeway and Uncle Martin Ballangarry meet up in traditional home Country.

THE RECOGNISE relay reaches Coffs Harbour on its nationwide journey this Friday having travelled more than 30,000 kilometres since it began nearly two years ago.

The relay will arrive at the Norm Jordan Pavilion at Coffs Harbour Showground with locals invited to join a community morning tea where Uncle Barry Hoskins will deliver a welcome to Gumbaynggirr country.

Aunty Bea Ballangary and Recognise ambassador Aden Ridgeway will speak to guests.

The Journey to Recognition invites local communities across the nation to be part of the movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in our country's Constitution.

Former Senator Ridgeway will travel with the Journey on his family's Gumbaynggirr country through Coffs Harbour, Bowraville and Nambucca Heads.

"I travelled with the Journey when it launched in Melbourne almost two years ago and feel honoured to now welcome campaigners to my own country," he said.

"I grew up on Bellwood Aboriginal mission and in my earliest years there was no electricity and no running water.

"It wasn't until I turned five that any of us were counted as citizens but a lot has changed since then.

"Yet discrimination remains in our highest legal document and our Constitution remains silent on the history of our people, a people who endured, evolved and prospered here for tens of thousands of years before the British colonies were proclaimed.

"Changing the Constitution requires every Australian to vote at a referendum.

"For it to be successful, it requires a double majority.

"That is, a majority of people across the country and a majority of people in a majority of the six states to vote yes.

"Big moments like this require the active involvement of every Australian.

"I call on NSW to be an active driver of change.

"Our schools, community groups, local stores and church groups all have a role to play.

"Bring your voices, your passions, your life lessons and your knowledge to this."

Topics:  coffs harbour showground gumbaynggirr

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