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Professor Dodson and Jonty Bush launch Australia Day activities at Dawn in the Blue Mountains
On Tuesday 19th January, Australian of the Year 2009 Professor Mick Dodson and Young Australian of the Year 2009 Jonty Bush attended a dawn event in the Blue Mountains (NSW) to ask all Australians to join together in understanding this Australia Day.
Held each year at a different iconic Australian location, the dawn event marks the beginning of Australia Day activities with a reflection on our nation’s past and commitment to a brighter future together.
Overlooking the Grose Valley, Professor Dosdon and Jonty Bush spoke of the impact the awards had made on their lives in the past year and of their experiences visiting communities around the country.
Together with living legend Jack Thompson and National Australia Day Council Deputy Chair Shelley Reys, they also shared their views on what makes Australia unique and their hopes and visions for the future of the nation.
Ms Reys said the Blue Mountains venue was a fitting place to consider how Australians can learn from the past in order to create a better future.
“We come together for the Dawn event each year to acknowledge that the landscape is a key part of our national identity and, of course, the land plays a central role in Indigenous culture,” said Ms Reys.
“Standing here in the Blue Mountains in the quiet of dawn reminds us of the shared history of our land and gives us reason to consider how we can all move forward together. This place is full of history - Aboriginal ancestral history, white explorer history, the history of summer holidays and vibrant local communities.
“They say dawn is the most honest hour of the day and so this morning is a time for honesty and self-reflection as we prepare to mark Australia Day and to commit ourselves to making the days ahead better than those which have gone before.
“Next week, when we come to celebrate Australia Day with our communities, our families and our friends, let’s give that celebration a sense of purpose by making a personal commitment to playing a part in making Australia a more united, inclusive and strong nation.
“The country we love so much is the product both of nature and of people, and we each must play our part in bringing all Australians together.”
Jack Thompson, who co-owns a hotel in the Blue Mountains, read a Banjo Patterson poem ‘The Mountains’ to open the event and also shared his views on the area’s significance and ways in which all Australians could continue the process of reconciliation.
More than six million people are expected to take part in Australia Day activities around the country on Tuesday 26 January 2010.
For more information on Australia Day visit www.australiaday.org.au.