5 Great Reasons Why You Should Come to Melbourne Town Hall this Thursday Evening

Photo: Melbourne Town Hall

Photo: Melbourne Town Hall

Something big is happening at the Melbourne Town Hall this Thursday evening.

Former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce is presenting the 2016 Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship, a prestigious award that celebrates individuals doing extraordinary work in reconciliation.

For those of you who may feel torn about missing Family Feud this week, here’s 5 great reasons why you should come to the Town Hall instead.

1.  You love June Oscar

There’s so much to love and admire about June Oscar.

June was awarded the Order of Australia, our nation’s highest honor, for “improving the lives of people in the Fitzroy Valley”. She was instrumental in her community winning a landmark legal ruling that stopped the flood of alcohol in the area. Thanks to June’s strength and determination, alcohol restrictions were introduced in Fitzroy Crossing indefinitely.

She was also an Australian delegate to the United Nations and gave a defining speech at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Back at home, June’s tireless commitment at the Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women's Resource Centre helped uncover the exceptionally high number of children afflicted with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

June was even invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne.

And now she's won the Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship for 2016, a prestigious award that celebrates individuals doing extraordinary work in reconciliation. Go June!

2.  You think Desmond Tutu is a legend

Desmond Tutu is a social rights activist and retired bishop from South Africa, who won the respect and admiration of people all over the word when he fought to bring down social segregation in his country, also known as apartheid.

Desmond’s fans see him as a hero who, after helping to get rid of apartheid, has been busy defending human rights and protecting the less fortunate. He continues to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia and trans-phobia.

Desmond Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984; the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986; the Pacem in Terris Award in 1987; the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999; the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007; and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. What an absolute legend.

3.  You admire Dame Quentin Bryce

Dame Quentin Bryce is an inspiration and a true Aussie pioneer. She was the first woman to become a Governor General, having previously served as the Governor of Queensland.

Dame Quentin Bryce. Photo: ABC News

Dame Quentin Bryce. Photo: ABC News

Her outstanding services to the community saw Dame Quentin appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in 1988; Companion of the Order of Australia and Dame of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in 2003; and Queen Elizabeth II invested her as Commander of the Royal Victorian Order at Government House in 2011. Dame Quentin is a truly inspirational Australian.

4.  You dig how Russell Smith plays the didgeridoo

Russell Smith is a Pitjantjatjarra man from the Central Australian desert region and plays the didgeridoo like nobody else can. He is the founder of the award winning Manta trio, who combine indigenous, classical and folk traditions with didgeridoo, acoustic guitar and classical cello.

And that's not all they can do. Manta trio’s cool rendition of the Doctor Who theme brings back fond memories of the Tardis.

5.  You want to support Global Reconciliation and learn more about them

Since 2002, Global Reconciliation has worked collaboratively on reconciliation projects around the world, tapping into a global network of reconciliation specialists.

In Australia, reconciliation is seen as a way of addressing the differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

We see reconciliation as an ongoing process serving many different purposes that contribute to consolidating peace, breaking the cycle of violence, restoring justice at personal and social levels, bringing about personal healing and reparation for past injustices, and building non-violent relationships for the future.

Global Reconciliation does not seek ‘harmony’, but rather encourages working and doing things together while being different. We believe that the path towards reconciliation lies in people who are different coming together to share everyday life activities such as sport, education and the arts. We seek dialogue across continuing differences.

Come to see Dame Quentin Bryce present June Oscar the 2016 Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship Award at the Melbourne Town Hall this Thursday, May 19, at 5.30pm. Entry is free – Places are limited.

Emmanuel Economou