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South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation, Ballawinne Festival

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Tags: Tasmanian Aboriginals

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, as member for Franklin, I acknowledge and pay my respects to the south east Tasmanian Aboriginal community, which is a very large body of people who have been custodians of the lands in southern and south-eastern Tasmania for tens of thousands of years. I respect their elders past and present and the people amongst us today in the community who are showing true leadership and spirit, and are forging ahead with expansive community activities, showing the strength of that enduring culture, their wisdom and their contribution to their local community.

The South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation (SETAC) was officially formed in 1992. It is based in Cygnet, which was the area of Fanny Cochrane Smith, who was such an important, amazing woman - the elder of many Aboriginal people who live in the Cygnet environs. She lived out the latter part of her life in Nicholls Rivulet and had a large family. The descendants of Fanny Cochrane Smith are actively involved in SETAC.

The 1998 establishment of a primary health and wellbeing centre was the root centre of SETAC, and their building in Mary Street, the main street in Cygnet, was also an important part. Because people in the Aboriginal community have moved increasingly into the Kingston region SETAC has expanded their community support and offerings and I was privileged to attend the opening of their new health and wellbeing centre in Kingston.

They also have gifted the original building in the main street of Cygnet to the Cygnet community and that has had a soft launch of what is called Oura Oura House, which means white cockatoo in palawa pakana. Oura Oura is a beautiful example of the inclusiveness of the Aboriginal community around the Cygnet south-east Tasmanian area and the connections being made between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people together in learning and understanding the wisdom of Aboriginal culture.

The best demonstration of that was the incredible inaugural Ballawinne Festival which was held after the Cygnet Folk Festival in January this year. Ballawinne was an extraordinary evidence of the philosophy and the richness of Aboriginal culture. The stories that have started at the Ballawinne Festival are continuing to emanate throughout the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities in southern Tasmania.

I am really confident that lands that were walked on by the malarkadi , the nuenonne and [inaudible] people will continue to be walked on by palawa/pakana people joining hands with non-Aboriginal people in the community around them to take the wisdom of Aboriginal philosophy which was enabled the palawa/pakana to live in this land and care for it for tens of thousands of years. That same wisdom we need to be learning from so that we can face the changes that are coming and really understand why we need to pivot to environment, community and healing.