By Marg Lynn, Bass Coast South Gippsland Reconciliation Group

THE Bass Coast South Gippsland Reconciliation Group paid tribute to Anne Davie OAM with an afternoon tea at its meeting on Thursday.

Anne has been co-chair of the group for 15 years and has decided to stand down. Geoff Ellis has replaced her, joining Florence Hydon as co-chair.

Anne has had a lifelong commitment to social justice and righting the wrongs perpetrated against Indigenous people, which brought her to the newly formed group back in 2005. She has made an extraordinary contribution to the group, always inspiring with her passion, her wide reading on Indigenous culture, and her activism across a broad community front.

She reflected on the many actions and achievements of the group, citing the film festivals, engagement with Sorry Day, Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week, including running the NAIDOC Week art exhibitions for the last seven years, and hosting many speakers, notably The Honourable Justice Peter Gebhardt who addressed the group a number of times about the work he did through Trinity College in mentoring aspiring young Aboriginal scholars.

Anne recalled the 2015 meeting with Russell Broadbent MHR she attended with Sonia Weston, a local Boon Wurrung woman and member of the group, early in our campaign to change the name of the McMillan electorate. The group went on to make a sustained and significant contribution to a successful name change, but regrettably not an Aboriginal name.

The Bass Coast South Gippsland Reconciliation Group has a growing membership and friends group, with over 200 on the combined mailing lists. They meet every month to educate themselves about Aboriginal history, culture and the contemporary impacts of dispossession and discrimination, and to promote understanding and community awareness.

The group welcomes the newly announced Yoo-rrook Justice Commission which will be something similar to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, based on truth-telling, a necessary precursor to healing.