Gladstone council raises Aboriginal flag in historic event

THE Gladstone Regional Council Chambers will now have an Aboriginal flag flying from one of its four flag poles whenever another flag is flying.

Aboriginal elders from Gladstone Bundaberg, Fraser Coast and the North Burnett refused to sign a major land agreement that was 10 years in the making until local council flew the Aboriginal flag.

But yesterday, in his fifth day as Gladstone's new mayor Matt Burnett stood alongside Gidarjil Indigenous Organisation Queensland spokespeople Tricia Eggmolesse, Richard Johnson and Kerry Blackman (pictured).

Mr Burnett said it was appropriate the Aboriginal flag flew with the Australian and Queensland flags.

"People see the Australian flag and Queensland flag and know we are in Queensland within Australia," he said.

"They should also see the Aboriginal flag and recognise we are in the land of the Goreng Goreng, Byellee and Gurang people."

Gidarjil Indigenous Organisation Queensland spokespeople Tricia Eggmolesse, Richard Johnson and Kerry Blackman with Mayor Matt Burnett.
Gidarjil Indigenous Organisation Queensland spokespeople Tricia Eggmolesse, Richard Johnson and Kerry Blackman with Mayor Matt Burnett.

Richard Johnson said Gladstone Regional Council needed to lead the way and set an example for the rest of the community.

"This is positive for us and we would like to see other businesses and organisations follow suite," he said.

"At least we know we have people in the council who know where we are coming from. I feel as if we are welcome here."

Gidarjil ranger Symeon Marou said it was better late than never.

"It gives the Indigenous community a bit of pride in itself," he said.

"Recognition is always big in the Indigenous community and to have that little flag up outside the council chambers is big for us."



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