Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a long standing tradition of fighting for Country, and continue to serve with honour within the Royal Australian Air Force. To initiate Air Force’s Centenary week, a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony will be conducted at the Australian War Memorial’s For Our Country installation. For Our Country is a sculptural pavilion set behind a ceremonial fire-pit within a 10-meter circle of basalt stones. Behind the fire pit is a wall of two-way mirrored glass that reflects the Memorial, the landscape and the viewer – making them an active participant in a living history. This wall is covered with thousands of transparent lenses, highlighting our incomplete understanding of time, history, and memory.
At the centre of the pavilion is a ceremonial chamber for the depositing of soil from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations from across Australia. It is our intent to gather soils from across Air Force’s bases and operating regions to bring to the ceremonial chamber to join the many lands that that ancestors have defended, and from which they came to serve Australia. The combining of this soil will provide a symbolic gesture of unity and awareness as Air Force steps forward into a new century.
For our Country Sculptural Pavilion
In 2015 the Memorial appointed an Aboriginal engagement advisory agency which made recommendations regarding commissioning a memorial to recognise the sacrifice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service personnel and reflect on a proud and painful history. An Elders advisory group was established, comprised of representatives from United Ngunnawal Elders Council, Indigenous defence and veteran stakeholder groups, heritage practitioners, and Indigenous art experts. The Elders group selected a design by Daniel Boyd in collaboration with architects Edition Office.
"The intent of it was to create a space for reflection and contemplation so that people can try to understand the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people … It’s about having a space they can all have access to … so I wanted to create a pavilion where you can have a direct relationship with it.” Daniel Boyd of Kudjala/Gangalu/Kuku Yalanji/Waka Waka/Gubbi Gubbi/Wangerriburra/Bandjalung peoples, 2018.
For Our Country seeks to recognise of the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders during and after service, and the experiences of their kin felt through generations. For Our Country is a deeply moving, dignified, strong and thought-provoking memorial that provides a place for ceremony, cultural practice, and a space for reflection for all.
All Air Force 2021 events will be COVID-compliant and in line with state and territory requirements. Please refer to this event page for updates.
Due to COVID restrictions, this is a balloted event. Ballots are now closed.
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