The Institute Times

Corroboree 2000

Corroboree 2000, thousands walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Courtesy of Fairfax Syndication.

Across Australia, one of the most significant mobilisations of people in modern history occurred, with 250,000 people walking for reconciliation across the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 28 May in the year 2000.

The day before, in the Sydney Opera House, the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation presented to the nation the National Reconciliation documents Corroboree 2000: Towards Reconciliation and a Roadmap for Reconciliation.

With much pomp and ceremony, the documents arrived outside Sydney Opera House aboard the sailing vessel Tribal Warrior, welcomed by the Moeyoengu Koekaperr dancers of Saibai Islands from the Torres Strait. The documents continued to travel through a smoking ceremony led by the traditional owners of the Opera House land, the Eora people.

Inside the full-house theatre, and on the stage sat the largest gathering of the nation's leaders in Australian history from the Governor-General of Australia to the Prime Minister, Leaders from all National political parties, all State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers to the Chairs of the Council for Aboriginal and Reconciliation (CAR), the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Commission and the Torres Strait Regional Authority. It was a historic gathering.

In her speech Dr Evelyn Scott, the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation Chairperson said, 'what the Council presents here today, the national reconciliation documents, to governments, community leaders and the people of the nation, is a light to show us the path towards the resolution of our national conscience ... to advance reconciliation, including actions to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

'... Our struggle for Indigenous rights and equality is bound up inextricably with the rights of all Australians. Our freedom is your freedom. Reconciliation is not an isolated event but part of the fabric of this nation.