On Thursday 30 November, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) held an event at the Theatre Royal in Hobart to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the TAC. The event was for the Aboriginal community and for non-Aboriginal people and organisations who have supported the Aboriginal community in various ways. The Royal Society of Tasmania was honoured to receive an invitation to this event. As President Prof Jocelyn McPhie and Vice-President Dr Julie Rimes were unavailable, Past President Mary Koolhof attended to represent the Society.
This is Mary’s report:
“On arrival, I felt privileged to be offered an Aboriginal t-shirt marking the event, and to be invited by a leading member of the Aboriginal community to wear the t-shirt immediately. Before the formalities, a senior Aboriginal person told me that the Apology the Royal Society offered to Tasmanian Aboriginal people in 2021 had meant a great deal to her and to many other people”.
“The event in the Theatre Royal took the form of a sequence of moderated forums. Presenters seated on the stage described important stages in the journey of the TAC and answered questions while archival film footage played silently in the background. Attendees were treated to an Aboriginal song, and also a dance performance. Some key achievements celebrated were the establishment of the Aboriginal Legal Service, the revival of palawa kani, and the return of Aboriginal ancestral remains. There was a very respectful stillness from all in the theatre when this process was described, and particularly when the film footage showed Tasmanian Aboriginal people carrying the boxed ancestral remains across the tarmac on their return from overseas.“
“It was an honour to attend this event representing The Royal Society of Tasmania, and to meet more members of the Aboriginal community.”