RMIT University has celebrated Reconciliation Week with the opening of its new Ngarara Willim Centre at Bundoora West campus.
The new Centre caters for the study and cultural needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
The week also marked the first anniversary of the release of RMIT’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
The opening included a traditional smoking ceremony, an Indigenous-themed walk through the campus and a speech from Lionel Bamblett, General Manager of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association, about the 1967 referendum and its 50th anniversary this year.
Manager of the Ngarara Willim Centre, Stacey Campton said the Bundoora facility was part of a strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander presence at the campus.
“Bundoora campus is already home to the Keelbundoora Scarred Trees and Heritage Trail, which has six rare scarred trees that tell us a great deal about the Wurundjeri clan,” she said.
“It is also home to the University’s first purpose-built student accommodation – Walert House. Walert is the Wurundjeri word for possum.”
Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, spoke about the importance of Reconciliation.
“Talking about the past means little, if we don’t apply ourselves to demolishing the barriers that still exist today,” he told the guests.
“That’s what our Reconciliation Action Plan is about – securing and sharing a different future for all of us at RMIT – a future founded on the active relationship that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
“The Reconciliation Action Plan provides us with the vehicle to demolish those existing barriers – and provide unique pathways and relationships beyond the RAP, preparing our graduates for life and work in the 21st century.
“There’s much more we can do, and today’s opening is another milestone to celebrate how we’re supporting students and our staff at RMIT. I’m confident we’ll continue to accelerate our progress by working together.”
Among the University’s achievements since the RAP was released are:
- launch of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Plan
- first Aboriginal Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor – Indigenous Education and Engagement, Professor Mark McMillan appointed
- joined Supply Nation – the Australian leader in supplier diversity
- Ngarara Place Indigenous garden on City campus won the Victorian Premier’s Design Award for best Design Strategy
- Indigenous engagement plans set across all our colleges and portfolios
Story: Louise Handran