GEOCON High Society Masthead

Lifting our faces to the future

Roslyn Hull

“This is a year not just to look to our past but to lift our faces to the future and come together to make it shine, not just for our children but for our old people too.”

We are fast approaching a clutch of significant dates in Australian history.

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) runs from Friday 26 May to 2 June . Tomorrow it will be nine years since Kevin Rudd made an apology to the stolen generations. On Saturday 27 May, it will be 50 years since the 1967 referendum, when the greatest majority of Australians ever agreed to alter the Australian Constitution – over 90% of voters. Then next Friday, 2 June, it will be 25 years since the Mabo Decision was handed down in the High Court.

Three times when we, as a community, took steps along the long road to a truly reconciled Australia. A journey we are still on and one that I sincerely believe is the most important we can take as a nation.

There is a bit of myth and conjecture about all three of these events but there is plenty online to read about each of them (the National Archives of Australia cites the actual wording from the voting form for the referendum, taking any emotion out of the discussion). However, that is not the purpose of this piece.

I just want to say – get involved.

There are so many activities and opportunities to celebrate or discuss Reconciliation, whether through art, theatre or community events—check out the full calendar, including an NRW trail of the cultural institutions in Canberra.

Or you can just take a walk with me along the artworks of Reconciliation Place (you know, where we all turn out for Enlighten each year). I will be leading a tour this Friday and my colleague will lead one next Friday. All the information is on Eventbrite and though the tours are free we ask you to book so we know how many are attending.

This is a year not just to look to our past but to lift our faces to the future and come together to make it shine, not just for our children but for our old people too.

To commemorate this landmark year of anniversaries, Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander veterans, their families and any who had served in the military were invited to lead the ANZAC Day march in Canberra last month. I wish my mum had lived to see that. My mother’s mother came from the Maiwali people of western Queensland but that heritage was never spoken about until the last few years of her life. She served in the WRAAF in the 1950s and I know she would have been stirred by that day, so I wrote a poem.

Remembrance Park, MT Ainslie


It is Anzac.
I am at the rock
To remember.

The sky
And I
For warriors lost,
For warriors maimed.

I cry.
For my mother

Who could never be proud.
And my daughters,
Who always will be.

©Roslyn Hull 2017

Roslyn works for the National Capital Authority.


Ros Hull

Roslyn is a writer and storyteller who loves all things Canberra, her family, sci fi and movies – but not in that order. She has worked in museum education since 2001 and has a passion for imparting knowledge to others. Writing is her happy place, particularly if there is a dog at her feet and a coffee in her hand. More about the Author