It,s for all Eora,
And the whole of Australia”
Mr. Des Madden Gadigal spokesman)
Early Sydney colony era farmer James Squire buried his friend Bennelong in his orange orchard in 1813. In time, the grave was eventually lost.
By the time Prime Minister Paul Keating delivered his landmark ‘Redfern Address’, on 10th December 1992, the site had been suburbia for well over a Century and the personal examples of bravery, forgiveness, and leadership shown by Bennelong, forgotten by most Australians. In his Redfern speech, Keating observed “we cannot confidently say we have succeeded…until we’ve extended opportunity and care, dignity and hope to the first Australians; the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”.
25 years on (to the day) from that moment, an unassuming suburban home was passed in at auction. What makes this house special is that the front yard is the final resting place of Woollarawarre Bennelong, one of the most important Aboriginal leaders at the time of first European settlement.
house special is that the front yard is the final resting place of Woollarawarre Bennelong, one of the most important Aboriginal leaders at the time of first European settlement.
Cathy Freeman OAM lit the Olympic cauldron at Sydney’s 2000 Games (at Homebush, on Bennelong’s traditional Wangal lands) 11 years before Bennelong’s grave would be rediscovered. The theme “Share the Spirit - Sydney 2000” reflected the mood of those Games, which tapped into the goodwill of its volunteer army.
Freeman was honoured as the final relay torchbearer, before winning gold in her event 10 days later. She did so with the weight of the nation on her shoulders, and united Australians in our shared pride in one Aboriginal Australian. 18 years (to the day) after the 2000 Games opening ceremony, the NSW government purchased 25 Watson Street, including Bennelong’s grave, on behalf of all Australians. It’s our hope this might signal Australia’s ‘coming of age’ where race relations are concerned.
The fundraising campaign www.ShareTheVision2020.Sydney is your opportunity to demonstrate you support our mission to extend “opportunity and care, dignity and hope”.
While the NSW government purchased the site of Bennelong’s grave outright, the transformation of the property as a ‘Reconciliation activation site’ will be funded by voluntary public donations. By making a donation, signing up as a member, or buying merchandise from this site, you can support the transformation of 25 Watson Street as ‘The Home of Reconciliation’.
Help us: decide how best to transform the site; establish an appropriate commercial basis for the site (its ongoing use, enjoyment, and maintenance); and secure the necessary capital to realise this vision. We are on track to commence landscaping and renovation, prior to the 250th anniversary of Cook’s arrival at Kurnell (29th April 2020).
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and improve conditions. Your generous donation will help us do the the right thing.
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