Uncle Tom's plaque puts spotlight on cultural heritage
A PLAQUE was unveiled in Bellingen's Maam Gaduying (meeting place) Park in NAIDOC week to signify the contribution made in wartime by indigenous servicemen and women.
While the plaque was dedicated to Uncle Tom Kelly to acknowledge his contribution to education, the arts and community engagement in the Bellingen Valley, the ceremony had a much wider significance.
Mayor of Bellingen, Cr Mark Troy, led a group of councillors and representatives from the Dorrigo Aboriginal Land Council, the local Gumbaynggirr Language class, Indigenous Community Links, community elders and children gathered to be warmed by local indigenous culture.
"It is important to acknowledge the contribution made by men and women who have served in defence of their country," Cr Troy said.
"From defending their tribal lands, to the resistance fighters, including Pemulwuy, who continued to defend their country after European settlement, to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who served in the First and Second World Wars and those who enlisted in the women's services or worked in war industries.
"It is important to recognise and acknowledge the role they have played in shaping the identity of this country."