Aboriginal Treaty with St Mary’s, South Brisbane

An invitation to attend this community event from Sam Watson:





The church of St. Mary’s is situated in an area that is rich in Aboriginal culture and lore and over the years, a very close affinity has developed between the church community and the local Aboriginal people. This close relationship has much to do with the character and commitment of the leadership of St. Mary’s and the respect that Aboriginal people have for places of worship.

The Aboriginal people may well have lost exclusive custodianship of many of their sacred sites; but they have never ceded their sovereignty to the invading culture and they still assert their rights as a sovereign people to this day. They also hold to the ancient Dreaming stories and rituals of their country and the ceremonies are still celebrated and observed at the appropriate time.

For their part the people of St. Mary’s have readily embraced the downtrodden and dispossessed survivors of the local tribal nations and they have continued to minister to them in the parks and open spaces across South Brisbane.

This year began with the formal apology of the Prime Minister to the Stolen Generations, that was offered with great pomp and ceremony within the federal parliament in Canberra. The apology and the spirit in which it was offered was a rare and defining moment for this nation. We have also witnessed and been a part of the

"Bridge Walks" in 2000 for Reconciliation. It is time for us as a people to take the next step in this broad process and translate that apology and the spirit of reconciliation into something real and tangible.

The people of St. Mary’s have had a long and enriching conversation with the leaders of the Aboriginal community and it has been agreed that it is appropriate that there should now be a ceremony conducted within the church, to formally acknowledge the relationship that has always existed between the church and the Aboriginal community. This ceremony will be a formal statement that will acknowledge the past wrongs and injustices that have been perpetrated against the Aboriginal people, a formal statement that will acknowledge the very special relationship that Aboriginal people have with land and country and a statement that will commit the church and the aboriginal community to a shared journey based on mutual respect, shared hope and an abiding vision.

This document will also acknowledge and pay due homage to the traditional owners and custodians of all the tribal lands of the Greater Brisbane and Moreton Bay region.

It is hoped that this historic ceremony will be the beginning of an ongoing process that will create the opportunity for more Aboriginal people to become a part of the Sacred Treaty Circles and as a community, bring about the healing of self and country. This ceremony will acknowledge that Aboriginal people are the primary owners and custodians of all this land and it is they who must lead us as we rediscover and reconnect with the truth and oneness of country beneath God.

Within this ceremony a document will be signed between the leaders of both communities to ensure that there will be no ambiguity or confusion about the intent of this coming together.

We invite you to attend this unique event that will be held at the St. Mary’s church, South Brisbane at 4pm. On Sunday the 30th. Of November. There will be a traditional blessing and "smoking" ceremony conducted by the Nunuccal dancers from Stradbroke Island and then there will be the formal signing of a Treaty of Commitment by Fr. Peter Kennedy on behalf of the St. Mary’s church and Mr. Denis ( Bejam )Walker, on behalf of the Sacred Treaty Circles.

Following the signing of the Treaty document, there will be a planting of a Bunya Pine in the front forecourt of the church. The Bunya Pine is one of the most sacred trees in Aboriginal spiritual belief and this ceremony will honour the ancient ritual of the "Gurrie-In-Dar-Narmie," which was observed by tribes from across south-east Queensland at the time of the Bunya Nut harvest.

After the proceedings have been finalised there will be a community feast and a breaking of bread, to conclude the day’s programme.

A program of future cultural exchanges and ceremonies within the church has already been drawn up for next year, as the state prepares to celebrate it’s 150th. Anniversary.

2009 –


A very special service will be conducted in the church to observe "Invasion Day."

(*) MAY – National Sorry Week.

A very special service will be conducted in the church to honour the pain and suffering of the Stolen generations.


There will be services during this week to celebrate the richness and diversity of indigenous cultures.

We would hope that you and your family will come to these events as we celebrate a new era and a new spirit in cross cultural worship and celebration.

All inquiries please contact –

* ST. MARYS – 07 / 38443806


* Dennis – "Bejam Kunmunara Jalo Nunuccal Kabul" – Walker

* Sam Watson – 0401227443

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