Fed Square is set to host a week-long series of special events recognising Reconciliation Week, bringing together a huge range of civic, sporting and cultural partners, as well as performers, artists, academics and activists, for the inaugural WE | HERE | NOW program.
Beginning on Saturday 27th May, WE | HERE | NOW commences with the first permanent raising of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags at Fed Square, an historic occasion which will be joined by Gail Mabo, daughter of Eddie Mabo, and local Aboriginal Elders to honour Australia’s First Nations peoples.
Later that Saturday, Australian Idol winner and multi-platinum artist Casey Donovan, and former NRL star Joe Williams will join AFL legend Michael Long for The Long Walk, with performances on Fed Square’s main stage, followed by a group walk to Melbourne’s iconic MCG in a show of solidarity and celebration.
Throughout the following week, a range of public talks, film screenings, workshops, exhibitions, and performances will see Fed Square come alive with work from some of the most celebrated indigenous artists, scholars and activists in Australia.
In a unique contribution to the WE | HERE | NOW program, broadcasters from eighteen SBS language programs have each recorded a special Acknowledgement of Country in their first language. These acknowledgements will be played on Fed Square’s famous Big Screen and will host a curated program of films, documentaries, animations, archival footage and TV honouring the Indigenous Australian experience, past and present.
The WE | HERE | NOW program acknowledges two momentous milestones in modern Australian history: the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum on 27 May, which changed the Australian Constitution to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the census; and the 25th Anniversary of the High Court of Australia’s 1992 Mabo decision on 3 June, which overturned the assumption of terra nullius and recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ land rights.
The WE | HERE | NOW consortia, initiated by and including Fed Square, comprises The Koorie Heritage Trust, ACMI, SBS and NITV, NGV, Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit at Victoria University, The Long Walk and Reconciliation Victoria.