Issued Tuesday, 12 February 2008
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE JOINS NATIONAL APOLOGY TO THE STOLEN GENERATIONS
Australia’s landmark, Sydney Opera House will fly three flags tomorrow (Wednesday February 13) - the national, the Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islander flags - to symbolically represent reconciliation with indigenous communities.
The three flags will fly from 7am to sunset on the flag poles at the East Circular Quay and Royal Botanic Gardens entrances to the Opera House site.
Sydney Opera House has had a long commitment to reconciliation, and staff and management are proud to acknowledge the apology to the Stolen Generations being delivered by the Prime Minister in Canberra.
Chief Executive Richard Evans, said today, “Our site on Sydney Harbour is Bennelong Point, named after the local Gadigal man, Bennelong. In 1790, Governor Phillip built a hut for him on the headland which became a gathering place for local indigenous people.
“It has evolved into a meeting place for all Australians and their international friends.”
In May 2000, the Australian Declaration Towards Reconciliation was signed by indigenous and non-indigenous leaders in the Concert Hall while thousands gathered on the Monumental Steps and Forecourt. The following day, 150,000 people showed their support by walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
A series of events and a special program of indigenous-inspired performances were held as part of Corroboree 2000. This grew into the annual indigenous arts and culture festival, Message Sticks, presented by Sydney Opera House. Each year, the Deadly Awards are also held at the House, recognising indigenous achievement in music and culture.