THE shire’s cultural heritage officer Adam Magennis has presented to deputy mayor Cr Graham Pittock a painting of Aboriginal motifs inspired by Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali.
The gift was to mark the council’s annual presentation of the Reconciliation progress report as well as recognition of National Reconciliation Week 2015.
Other activities included a smoking ceremony and ceremonial dancing.
Mr Magennis – a qualifed archaeologist who advises shire planners, government agencies and developers about cultural heritage management – said his work contained everything from “insects in the soil to stars in the galaxy”, and included elements such as “surf at Sixteenth beach on the ocean coast at Rye; Arthurs Seat, which is known as Wonga; and Bunjil the eagle, an ancestral being”.
He told councillors, shire officers and members of the public at the council meeting in Rosebud Memorial Hall last week that the painting could also be viewed upside down, which brought laughter.
After the painting’s presentation, shire officers Peter Sibly of the social planning and community development department, and Aboriginal support and development policy officer Glenys Watts told councillors the shire had been widely praised for its active involvement in Reconciliation for more than a decade through community development, social support, advocacy, leadership, partnerships and policy development and implementation, social planning, promotion of cultural awareness, and cultural heritage protection.
They said the shire was one of the top 12 municipalities promoting Reconciliation and had received a high commendation from the Victorian Local Governance Association and Reconciliation Victoria.
It was listed among the top three municipalities in Victoria for its support of Reconciliation activities, and its website “was considered one of the most informative and best designed in Victoria”.
Councillors voted to reaffirm the shire’s commitment to Reconciliation, support of the Aboriginal gathering place Willum Warrain at Hastings, continue its engagement with traditional owners over cultural heritage and caring for country, and seek more resources to expand cultural heritage management planning. They also backed ongoing support of the Tjaegan Wilson-Blow Benevolence Trust to assist young Aboriginal boys and girls. Funding for the implementation of the Reconciliation Action Plan would be “subject to external funding and council’s annual budget considerations”.