City of Ballarat combines with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners to mark National Reconciliation Week

Aboriginal Flag raising to mark Reconciliation Week

The City of Ballarat combined with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation for a joint flag raising to mark National Reconciliation Week on Tuesday.

In Ballarat, the Aboriginal flag was raised by Wadawurrung Elders at the community flag pole in Queen Victoria Square to recognise the important week.  

A facilitated panel discussion was also held in Ballarat Town Hall after the event, featuring:

  • Shannen Mennen, a Wadawurrung Woman and Ballarat local who conducted the Smoking Ceremony prior to the flag raising.
  • Sarah Jane Hall, a Narungga woman living on Wadawurrung Country and co-chair of the Koorie Engagement Action Group, who is passionate about her Indigenous culture and investing back into community.
  • Tony Lovett, Gunditjmara man who lives and works on Wadawurrung country and is actively involved in a wide range of community building initiatives, including the Dungulayin Mileka, the Massive Murray Paddle program, the Koorie Engagement Action Group, Hoops Against Violence and Masters Football.

The National Reconciliation Week 2023 theme is Be a Voice for Generations. The theme encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise.  

It also calls upon all of us to act today for a more just, equitable society that will reconcile country for all.  

National Reconciliation Week is held from 27 May-3 June every year, with each of those dates commemorating two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the successful 1967 referendum, and the 1992 High Court Mabo decision respectively.

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson said it was an honour to be able to work collaboratively with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners to host a combined ceremony.

“We still have a long way to go in terms of reconciliation in Australia, but being able to work so closely with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners for the ceremony is a sign of building positive and respectful relationships,” Cr Hudson said.

Shannen Mennen, who conducted the Smoking Ceremony prior to the flag raising, said there were positive steps towards reconciliation in Ballarat.

“I am pleased to be a part of the Reconciliation Week celebrations in Ballarat,” she said.

“As a young Wadawurrung person, I am so happy to see our Elders and all Aboriginal people living in Ballarat being formally recognised, in a respectful and genuine way. Reconciliation is a shared journey, and I look forward to walking together alongside the Ballarat Community."

Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation CEO Liam Murphy said he was proud to work with the City of Ballarat to help create a collaborative ceremony.

“We thank the City of Ballarat for hosting a Flag Raising and Traditional Ceremonies on Wadawurrung Country to mark this week of significance, and to those community members that attended to support working toward a more equitable future where individuals feel heard and recognised,” he said.

The delivery of National Reconciliation Week is consistent with the City of Ballarat's Reconciliation Action Plan and Intercultural City Strategic Plan.

The City of Ballarat is currently developing its updated Reconciliation Action Plan 2023-2025, which outlines the organisation’s commitment to supporting the reconciliation process.

The plan will be the fourth of its kind created since 2011 and will continue to build on the City of Ballarat’s first steps towards reconciliation in 2003 when the first Statement of Commitment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities was developed.

The City of Ballarat’s National Reconciliation Week and National Sorry Day events are endorsed by the Koori Engagement Action Group.


Reconciliation Week Celebrations in Ballarat

Reconciliation Week Flag Raising  

30 May from 11am to 12.30pm  

At Queen Victoria Square (out the front of the Town Hall), followed by morning tea at the Town Hall including a panel discussion.

Library events

During National Reconciliation Week, each library early years session will feature First Nations authors and/or illustrators.

The events at the various City of Ballarat libraries, library outreaches at the Eureka Centre are as follows:

  • Tuesday 30 May: Wriggle & Rhyme at Lucas Community Hub, 10.30am and Baby Bounce at Wendouree Library at 2pm
  • Wednesday 31 May: Wriggle & Rhyme at Sebastopol Library and Family storytime at Wendouree Neighbourhood Centre, 10.30am
  • Thursday 1 June: Family storytime at Eureka Centre, 10.30am
  • Friday 2 June: Wriggle & Rhyme at Delacombe Salvation Army Centre, 10.30am and Little Languages at Wendouree Library, 10.30am

Parent Place events  

There will be free regular events held at Parent Place at 39 Sturt Street, but all will have a National Reconciliation Week focus.  

  • Tuesday 30 May: Craft, 11am-12pm
  • Wednesday 31 May: Little Play, 12.30pm-2pm
  • Thursday 1 June: Shake Rattle and Read, 11.30am-12pm