November 13, 2020
An historic moment occurred in Murgon on Thursday morning when the Aboriginal flag was hoisted for the first time in a small park near the Murgon RSL Club.
Vietnam veteran and Murgon RSL Sub-Branch vice-president Eric Law AM has been lobbying for years for the flag to be flown in Murgon.
He admitted to southburnett.com.au that for a long time he didn’t think it could happen.
But South Burnett Regional Council came on board with the idea, erecting a flag pole in Sir James Heading Park and organising the flag-raising ceremony to coincide with NAIDOC Week.
“There’s one thing that I can say about my ancestors and my people is that we’re very patient,” Uncle Eric told the assembled crowd.
“I’m sure my old ancestors would be rejoicing.
“They would be thinking the flag represents a symbol of reconciliation between both our towns.”
He said the flag was not erected to “worry” people but to bring people together.
Mayor Brett Otto called for the recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.
“It’s long overdue. Prime Minister, you’re probably not listening but if anyone ever gets a message to the Prime Minister, that needs to happen,” he said.
He said the recognition of Indigenous war veterans was also long overdue.
Mayor Otto supported a suggestion by NSW Premier Gladys Berijiklian that the words of the National Anthem be changed from “young and free” to “one and free”.
“We are not young. Our nation’s people are the oldest people on the planet,” he said.
Mayor Elvie Sandow thanked Uncle Eric for his long fight to get the flag recognised.
“Our ancestors would be very happy and it’s a long time coming,” she said.
“We work very closely with Murgon. Murgon relies on Cherbourg; Cherbourg relies on Murgon.
“It’s good that it’s been recognised.”
Compere Cr Kathy Duff commented that former Murgon mayor, the late Bill Roberts, would be very proud.
“He was a very strong supporter of Murgon and Cherbourg and called them twin towns,” she said.
“I know he will be looking down on us and thinking that this is a really great step forward.”
NB. Due to some constraints the new nine metre flagpole, funded through the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Program, was unable to be installed prior to Thursday’s event. A temporary pole has been installed and will be removed and replaced with two new poles, matching the height of the two existing poles. Once the new nine metre poles are installed, the two existing flag poles will be repainted to match. The four flag poles will fly the Australian flag, Queensland flag, Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islander flag.