ASSI150 SEQ Program brings people together…

 Guest blogger: John Waldron – ASSI 150 SEQ Project Coordinator

150+ Proejction by projection artist James Muller, 2013.

150+ Projection on the side of the State Library of Queensland. The concept behind the projection was about bringing connecting faces and places to the last 150 years of history. 2013.

 Components of the ASSI 150 SEQ program were highly innovative in that they were built on the inherent strengths of the communities involved to explore ways to build their capacity and resilience. They leveraged the deep cultural heritage of the Australian South Sea Islander community as a vehicle for mainstreaming awareness and recognition in the broader community.

The best example of this in this project was the community commemoration near Beaudesert, which was planned and coordinated by the local community.. This is Our Story, A Shared History of Beaudesert and the arrival of South Sea Islanders, was held at the original Townsvale Cotton Plantation (now Gleneagle) on 24th August 2013 the date 150 years ago when South Sea Islanders were bought to Queensland under a system of indentured labour.

This is Our Story was an historic event with Australian South Sea Islanders, Vanuatu Chiefs, descendants of the Walker Family and current landowners walking together down Walker Road to be met by Mununjali elders and community and seeking permission to walk on country.

Members of the Australian South Sea Islander Community gather to walk on to the old Townsvale site, 2013.

Members of the Australian South Sea Islander Community gather to walk on to the old Townsvale site, 2013.

This was followed by a community picnic with official commemoration ceremony, traditional Mununjali dance, Kastom dance, choral performances, music, workshops, market stalls, picnic games, historical displays, arts activities, yarning circle and elders tent. This was a special event and one that was a privilege to attend, I’m pleased to have experience it with my family. The event has been beautifully filmed and documented by Elijah Cavanagh and can be viewed on line here

Kakae Pakoa calls everyone to walk together in a historical walk with Australian South Sea Islanders community and the Walker Family on to Townsvale.

Kakae Pakoa calls everyone to walk together in a historical walk with Australian South Sea Islanders community and the Walker Family on to Townsvale.

 The success of the ASSI 150 SEQ program is due to the Committee’s hard work and their individual and united commitment to culture and community. It is also due to the many strong and meaningful partnerships, with local and state government personnel, arts and cultural representatives. I’m sure many of these connections will continue and provide long term benefit for the ASSI community.

Coordinating the program has been a career highlight and I thank the Australian South Sea Islander community and the committee for the opportunity and their support.

The ASSI 150 SEQ Steering Committee acknowledge the generous contribution of the ASSI Community, Program Partners, Patrons and Funders. Their investment has enabled the development and delivery of this valuable ASSI community and cultural commemorative program.
ASSI 150 SEQ Committee
Executive: Bronwyn Davis, Chair (Scenic Rim Regional Council); Lesley Bryant (Fiji Community); Debra Beattie (Museum & Gallery Services Queensland); Imelda Miller, ASSI Curator (Queensland Museum); Kevin Rains (City of Gold Coast) ;and John Waldron, Blue Sky View (ASSI 150 SEQ Curator/Coordinator)
Members:Jeanette Kirk (Brisbane Kanaka Community); Natalie Pakoa (Vanuatu-ASSI Community); Krishna Nahow (Kastom KolleKtiv/Vanuatu-ASSI artist) Elisabeth Gondwe (Redlands City Council); Tanya Jen (Ipswich City Council); Chelsi Foskett (Logan City Council); Belinda Simonsen (Sunshine Coast Council); Olivia Robinson (State Library Queensland); Tom Dick (Southern Cross University), Jo Pratt (BEMAC), and Niles Elvery (Queensland State Archives).
Program Partnership
ASSI Associations/groups: Brisbane Kanaka Community; Vanuatu-ASSI Community;Kastom KolleKtiv, Vanuatu-ASSI artist collective; Tweed ASSI Association; ASSVIA, Zillmere; and Descendants of ASSI, Sunshine Coast.
Local Governments: Redland City Council; Ipswich City Council; Logan City Council; Sunshine Coast Council; Gold Coast Council; Moreton Bay Regional Council; and Scenic Rim Regional Council.
Major Institutions: Brisbane Multicultural Centre (BEMAC); Queensland Museum; Museum & Gallery Services Queensland; State Library Queensland; Queensland Art Gallery, and Queensland State Archives.
Funding Partners
Local Governments: Redland City Council; Ipswich City Council; Logan City Council; Sunshine Coast Council; Gold Coast Council; Moreton Bay Regional Council; and Scenic Rim Regional Council.
Queensland Government: Multicultural Affairs Queensland; and Arts Queensland