Northern Illawarra Steps Up for Reconciliation

The Northern Illawarra community has gathered in the spirit of national unity on a walk for reconciliation.

A gathering of 1000 people, including over 20 schools, participated in the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group’s community event, carrying flags and banners as they walked proudly from Holy Spirit College to Bellambi Public School.

The president of the Northern Illawarra AECG, Julie Street Smith, is committed to advancing the community’s reconciliation process.

“By walking together, we wanted to show the world that we can work together, we can be together, we are not that different from each other. We can all walk as one,” she said.

“When Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people start to build important relationships, it builds a better community.”

The community walk provided an opportunity for non-Indigenous students to form connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, allowing all participants to develop a deeper understanding of each other.

“Throughout the walk, there was a lot of different people of all ages, and they were all yarning amongst themselves,” Ms Smith said.

“It is a special event that can break barriers in a gentle and non-confrontational way where there are no expectations of the students.

“When people are young, they develop strong bonds that can form their views on other races, and these friendships can last the rest of their lives.”

The opening ceremony included a traditional performance and guest speakers who commemorated the 25th anniversary of the 1992 High Court Mabo decision, and the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum.



JRNL101_my reconciliaition pic1
The opening ceremony highlighted traditional dance. Picture: Kara Tuck

The principal of Bulli High School, Chris Gregory, said cultural awareness was a significant part of Australia’s journey for reconciliation.

“The event provides a real sense of community and is a valuable experience for all students to share, value and respect,” Ms Gregory said.

Ms Smith is optimistic that the community event will leave an impression on all participants, and promote further actions which can benefit the Northern Illawarra.

“I would love to see that reconciliation is not limited to one week, and that it is a process which is occurring in our community all the time,” she said.

For information on how you can further Australia’s reconciliation process, visit the Creative Spirits website.




Owner Responsibility Gone Astray


The Wollongong City Council Dogs on Beaches and Parks Policy states that “the person in charge of any dog must be able to control their dog by voice command or other means”.  Picture: Kara Tuck 


A Coledale resident and her canine companions were terrorised by an uncontrolled dog near Sharkies beach last week. The rattled dog-walker is concerned for owner responsibility on off-leash dog beaches.

Carmel McDonald was walking along the seaside footpath, when a dog darted from Sharkies beach and bolted towards her. The dog proceeded to run circles around her, barking and snapping at her two dogs.

“There wasn’t any way that I could protect myself, or [my two dogs] Pippa and Charlie,” she said.

“I felt powerless and vulnerable, so I just stood still hoping that it wouldn’t bite me or latch onto my dogs.”

The harassment continued until the negligent owner walked up from the beach to retrieve her dog.

“The owner grabbed it by the collar and walked back to the beach, letting it run off again.”

“She didn’t even apologise to me,” Ms McDonald reflected.

Fortunately, Ms McDonald and her dogs walked away physically unscathed. However, the frightful experience has left a lasting impression on the Coledale resident.

“You should know your own dog, and if you can’t control it then you need to keep it on the lead,” she said.

“People need to take more responsibility for their dogs’ actions.”

Despite the trauma she has experienced, Ms McDonald is in favour of Sharkies beach remaining an off-leash dog beach.

“There is a small amount of people who don’t take consideration of other people with their dogs at the beach, but most people are responsible,” she said.

The Wollongong City Council has set out the obligations of dog owners in the Dogs On Beaches and Parks Policy.

It states that “the person in charge of any dog must be able to control their dog by voice command or other means”.

Residents such as the regular beach-walker, Karen Teale, believes that the off-leash dog beach policies need to be enforced.

“It is an off-leash dog beach, but with the condition of owners taking responsibility of their dog,” she said.

“I think the rangers should have a bigger presence on the beach.”

UOWTV Multimedia could not get in contact with the Wollongong City Council for a comment at the time of publish.

For more information on your obligation as a dog owner, visit the Wollongong City Council website. 

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑