Friday, 27 May 2022
Welcome to Government House for this dedication ceremony.
I thank Mr Telfer for sharing the peace lore fire ceremony of Tjilbruke
with us, and Australian Dance Theatre for their performance this morning.
Last year marked half a century since our State became the first place in Australia to fly the Aboriginal flag – in Tarntanyangga, Victoria Square.
Today we take yet another step and celebrate, for the first time at Government House, the permanent flying of this flag as well as the Torres Strait Islander flag.
Flags are some of the most powerful symbols in the world.
They speak to an untold number of stories and histories.
Most importantly, they represent belonging.
On this deck stand four flags representing our nation, our state, and our indigenous peoples, flying proudly together.
Together these flags acknowledge the unique history and special connection to country that Aboriginal people have with the land of South Australia.
They point to a state rich with people of all ages and cultural backgrounds, and home to descendants of the longest continuing culture in the world.
On this note I thank Mr Keith Fowler, Miss Lara Nguyen, the Honourable Kyam Maher and Ms Tanya Hosch for representing our community as flag raisers today.
These flags also provide a sense of welcome for everyone who walks into these grounds – as I hope they did for you.
This ceremony has been a long time in the making – you could say more than 180 years, since the first Governor moved into Government House.
For the past 30 years, the Aboriginal flag has been flown here, temporarily, on special occasions.
The permanent inclusion of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags gives instant recognition to the history of the land and the importance of country.
And they mark a permanent and important contribution by Government House as an active participant in South Australia’s reconciliation journey.
Our next step is to undertake a process of culturally mapping our site pre- and post-settlement, in which we are in the early stages.
We want to incorporate a more complex and complete historical understanding into our appreciation and our presentation of the site.
We want to share stories that may previously have been hidden or interpreted in very specific ways, making this even more truly a Government House for all South Australians.
I look forward to sharing our learnings with you and the broader community as the mapping process unfolds. And I ask you, please share your reconciliation learnings with me and with each other.
Thank you all for joining us today for this special occasion: an act of healing, faith and recognition.
I look forward to us walking the path of reconciliation together.