STIRLING council has picked up a national award for promoting indigenous recognition.
Last month mayor Giovanni Italiano and CEO Stuart Jardine traveled to Parliament House in Canberra to pick up the award in the national local government awards.
Stirling was the only WA council to take out a category, for its Stirling Aboriginal Engagement Project.
The project started after local Noongars complained they weren’t acknowledged or understood by the the city’s growing multicultural community.
Tours were organised which became so successful Wadgelas started turning up as well, and the project got some traction.
Oral histories were collected from the city’s elders to be stored in a local museum.
“What they did, their environmental and their commitment to land, animals, the water, the total environment changed the way that people thought of the Aboriginal community,” project organiser Trevor Holland said, noting Stirling now hosts WA’s biggest NAIDOC celebration.
It’s a big step for Stirling, which only in 2010 voted to fly the Aboriginal flag — and only during NAIDOC and Reconciliation weeks — and in 2011 then-mayor David Boothman described relations with the Noongar community as “strained”.
Other initiatives as they reached detente included a community art project in Nollamara, help for Aboriginal mums at the Herb Graham leisure centre and a weekly Aboriginal day at Nollamara Community Centre.