Sol Bellear State Funeral

Today, Bungjalung man, Sol Bellear, a giant amongst Aboriginal rights activists, was remembered with a state funeral at Redfern Oval.

Bellear was a significant leader, having been involved in the founding of the Aboriginal Legal Service, the Aboriginal Housing Service and the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council. He was also an Aboriginal delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. But perhaps his greatest contribution to public life was the establishment and proliferation of Aboriginal Medical Services in Sydney, around NSW and across Australia.

Sol Bellear was also an important figure in rugby league, particularly for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Redfern All Blacks.

Today's funeral was attended by a large contingent of family, friends and the public.

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Vale Bejame - Dennis Walker Senior

In memoriam of Aboriginal activist and elder, Dennis Walker Snr - Bejame - who passed away on the 4th of December 2017 at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

Bejame, a Noonucal man, was a key figure in the Aboriginal rights movement in the 1970s, and a founder of the Black Panther Party in Australia.

He is pictured here in his van, where he spent his last years - and his last moments, at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy - fighting for sovereignty and treaty until his last breath.

Some of his work can be found on his website, Treaty Now.

This image is published with the permission of his family.

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Homeground 2017 - Day 2

Photographs from Homeground, a festival of First Nations music, dance and culture.

Central to the festival is Dance Rites, where Aboriginal dance troupes battle it out for the mantle of competition champions for 2017.

This year, the Kulgoodah Dancers from Woorabinda in Queensland took out the title. The Q Town Mura Kebile Dancers from the Torres Strait were runners up, while the Allkumo Dancers from Cape York took out Best Wild Card.

The two-day festival culminated in the much anticipated performance of Yothu Yindi and the Treaty Project who played to a rapturous crowd.

Support was provided by Mau Power, the Malu Kiai Mura Buai Dance Company from Torres Strait, the Muggera Dancers, Rako Pasefika from Rotuma Fjii and Sorong Samarai from West Papua.

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Matt

Portrait of Matt, homeless rough sleeper, Kings Cross.

35mm Black and white film, Kodak Tri-X 400.

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Homeground 2017 - Day 1

Homeground is an annual festival of First Nations dance, music and culture held outside the Sydney Opera House. Over 300 performers from around the world gather to showcase their skills and culture.

 

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Celebrating Equality

Around 10,000 people flooded Sydney's CBD to celebrate the success of the YES campaign for same sex marriage.

61.1% of respondents voted in favour of marriage equality in the government's postal survey.

Starting from Taylor square, crowds spilt onto Oxford Street, Sydney's famed LGBTQIA+ district and marched to Hyde Park, dancing to mobile sound systems and celebrating deep into the night.

But the battle is not quite won, with conservative politicians attempting to stymie legislation for marriage equality and roll back anti-discrimination laws. Meanwhile, other human rights issues in Australia still await redress: Aboriginal sovereignty, refugee protection, equal pay for women, labour rights and a slew of environmental issues.

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YES!

Today, the results of the Same-Sex Marriage postal survey were announced, with the 'Yes'  campaign winning a resounding victory. The politicians will be under intense scrutiny to see how fully and quickly they implement the result as legislation.

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Portraits on 35mm Black and White Film

It's been a long time, but revisiting 35mm black and white film is more challenging than I remember.

A variety of portraits over a few days.

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National Gathering, Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Day 2

Photographs from Day 2 of the historic National Gathering of First Nations at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on Ngunnawal Country.

Representatives from many different clan groups from a variety of First Nations across the continent descended on the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra to discuss formalising a process of recognition of  each other's sovereignty.

The two-day meeting concluded with a broad agreement to take a draft statement back to clan groups to mandate delegates for the next National Gathering early next year to work towards a series of First Nation to First Nation 'treaty'-like agreements.

In a parallel action, The Lobby restaurant next to the Embassy (the location where Julia Gillard lost her shoe in 2012) was occupied after an eviction notice was issued by Ngunnawal representatives. The occupiers met with police and government officers to demand the site - up until now, earmarked for demolition - be developed as a Ngunnawal cultural centre. The parties will meet again this Wednesday the 8th of November 2017 to discuss the next move and negotiate an outcome. In the meantime, the Ngunnawal will continue to occupy the site.

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National Gathering, Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Photographs from Day 1 of the historic National Gathering of First Nations at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on Ngunnawal Country.

Representatives from many different clan groups from a variety of First Nations across the continent descended on the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra to discuss formalising a process of recognition of  each other's sovereignty.

*click on images for full screen view

Strike! University of Technology Sydney

Staff and students today took industrial action at UTS against the ongoing casualisation of the workforce and corporatisation of the university. Speakers spoke out against putting profits before staff, students and higher education.

Gadrian Hoosan and Nancy McDinny spoke on behalf of the Garrawa people from the Borroloola area and the First Nations Workers Alliance, drawing attention to the injustices of the Northern Territory 'intervention' and Basics Card.

Also represented were members from the NTEU, the MUA and the CMFEU.

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Shut Youth Prisons Rally - Justice for Tane

Photographs from a rally against ongoing Aboriginal Deaths In Custody - the latest of which was the death of 22-year old Tane Chatfield in Tamworth on the 20th of September, 2017. 

Around 150 people gathered yesterday outside the NSW Correctional Services centre in downtown Sydney to demand the closing of youth prisons as well as an investigation into and an immediate halt to all Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Tane's mother, Nioka Chatfield, his father Colin Chatfield and grandfather all spoke forcefully and emotionally.

The rally then marched to Surry Hills to the NSW Police headquarters where there were other speeches by Uncle Ken Canning, Doli Ufi, Elizabeth Jarrett, Kaleesha Morris, Padraic Gibson, Zachary Wone, and others.

The night's resounding chant: "They say accident, we say murder!"

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