HART Award Winner

Mullagh Wills Foundation – 2017 Community HART Award Winner

Having previously been selected as one of four finalists in the Small Community Category, the Mullagh Wills Foundation ‘Journey to the MCG’ project was announced as the winner of the 2017 Community HART Awards (Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together) at the Awards presentation ceremony held at the Koorie heritage Trust at Federation Square on Friday June 2.

The Award is recognition by Reconciliation Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) of the ‘Journey to the MCG” project demonstrating Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people working together and contributing to reconciliation through relationships, respect and understanding.

The Award was presented to Jane Nathan (Mullagh Wills Foundation Chair) by the Hon Natalie Hutchins (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister for Local Government) and Belinda Duarte (Reconciliation Victoria Co-Chair).

“On behalf of the Mullagh Wills Foundation I am absolutely delighted to receive this wonderful award and thank everyone who has been involved and helped to ensure the Journey to the MCG was a success in helping to achieve our goal of reconciliation through sport and ensuring more people know about the incredible story of the Aboriginal Cricket team in the 1860s. This Award is recognition of the volunteer committee and also of the ten municipalities involved in the project and the many community groups and hundreds of people who supported the Journey to the MCG,” said Jane Nathan.

“The manner in which each of the municipalities embraced this project and helped tell the story of the Aboriginal Cricket Team’s journey to Melbourne and match against the Melbourne Cricket Club at the MCG on Boxing Day in 1866 has been wonderful. And to have the support of the Melbourne Cricket Club on Boxing Day at the sacred scar tree in Yarra Park helped complete this journey and provide further focus on this story and the role sport can play in reconciliation,” Jane added.

The ‘Journey to the MCG’ commenced in Harrow in March 2016 with the support of the Barengi Gadjin Land Council and continued through to Melbourne on Boxing Day with Senior Wurundjeri Elder, Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin carrying the Message Book onto the ground prior to the start of the Australia Cricket Test match. At the launch of the project in Harrow, Wotjobaluk Elder Richard Kennedy, (the great-great grandson of Dick-a-Dick – a member of the 1866 Aboriginal Cricket Team), delivered a very special ‘Welcome to Country’ in the traditional Wergaia language. At the conclusion of the project, Richard Kennedy delivered a ‘Welcome to Country’ in the Wergaia language at the sacred scar tree in Yarra Park, a language that had not been spoken at this site for 150 years.

Pictured above: Cr Victoria Borg (Brimbank City Council), Jane Nathan (Chair Mullagh Wills Foundation) and Hon Natalie Hutchins (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Local Government)  Emma Staples and Shelly White (Mullagh Wills Foundation Committee), Cr Margaret Attley (VLGA President) and Ian Coutts (Mullagh Wills Foundation Committee).

About the HART Awards

The Community HART Awards, now in their fourth year, recognise local governments and community organisations that are advancing reconciliation in Victoria.

Reconciliation Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association present the awards, with support from Bank Australia and LGV.

The Awards recognise Victorian partnerships and initiatives that contribute to reconciliation outcomes at a local level. Nominations should be for initiatives that demonstrate Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people working together, and initiatives that have contributed to relationships, respect and understanding.