Sandra Hill and Wayne Webb raise the flag

A big crowd of Bridgetown people welcomed the raising of the Aboriginal flag outside the Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire offices on Sunday, July 12.

Sandra Hill, elder and custodian of the Wadandi/Pibulmun people, and Wayne Webb, Undalup cultural custodian, raised the flag to a round of applause under a perfect blue sky.

“It was really, really significant, it was the first step in a long-winded journey – it takes so much time to get the wheels going,” Ms Hill said.

She thanked the local people involved in pushing for the event and was delighted by the strong turnout.

“One of the things that really touched my heart was seeing all the flags in the main street in the shop windows,” she said.

“That’s a tangible gesture because people are walking past the shop and a lot of people don’t like Aboriginal people and are anti-everything Aboriginal because they don’t know us and who we are.

“But the thing with the shop owners is that they said ‘yes, we’d love to have those flags shown in our shop’ and that gave me heart to know that we have more supporters out there.”

Raising the flag meant the Shire had to erect a new flagpole, but Shire president John Nicholas is very pleased to see the new flag flying.

“It’s part of that inclusiveness issue that this town is strongly renowned for,” Councillor Nicholas said.

 “The council is extremely pleased to be supporting it.”

He said he was very happy with the turnout.

A reconciliation concert followed the flag raising, with award-winning performers Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse singing songs in the Noongar language to a capacity audience.