Facing Australia's future with Indigenous Constitutional recognition

Notre Dame students Gary Bonney, Meg Evans and Peter Dawson
show their support for the Recognise This campaign.

7 May 2014

Forty-six faces beam brightly along Henry Street at The University of Notre Dame Australia's Fremantle Campus in support of a landmark referendum for constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The mural was unveiled on Wednesday 30 April 2014 as the first in the Recognise This campaign series. Devised by Notre Dame student and Recognise This Campaign Coordinator, Peter Dawson, the campaign involves a series of public murals that are designed to be a visual and personal symbol of unity in support of the referendum.

The mural is comprised of faces of university students, Fremantle business owners, primary school students and members of the Western Australian public.

The Henry Street mural is the first of many expected to grace the walls of buildings in cities and towns across Australia to generate public support for the landmark referendum.

"Each time we paste a new face on the streets of cities across Australia we recognise each other's humanity and lay the foundations for a more unified future together," Peter said.

"This isn't just the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; it's Australia's history. The truth is that we are the sum of all these parts as Australians and for as long as one of those parts is missing from our Constitution, we will be incomplete."

Since establishment, the University has been committed to providing strong support to the process of Reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians through educational initiatives, mentoring groups and research projects.

In 2014, The Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) became part of the Notre Dame community and has already attracted more than 80 student volunteers who are committed to supporting the transition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from secondary school into university.

Based in Broome, the Nulungu Research Institute (Nulungu) is a centre for research excellence that provides an Indigenous academic focus for the three campuses of Notre Dame. This is enhanced by cultural outreach and training endeavours that integrate the mission of Reconciliation within the University. In this context, Nulungu promotes higher education as an opportunity for lifelong learning and its activities seek to broaden Notre Dame's links with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and influence them in a positive and supportive nature.

"The University of Notre Dame Australia's Fremantle Campus is proud to be associated with Recognise This, the national youth-led campaign to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution," Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the Fremantle Campus, Professor Selma Alliex, said. "This initiative is reflective of the University's commitment to Reconciliation and its Objects."

Visitors to Notre Dame's Fremantle Campus can view the mural on Henry Street, opposite Notre Dame's School of Medicine building.

Interview opportunities: Peter Dawson
0400 889 057 | peter.dawson@recognise.org.au

Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093; leigh.dawson@nd.edu.au