Greater Shepparton City Council was one of three organisations in the state awarded for its work that helped to progress reconciliation in Victoria last week.
Victorian Local Government Minister Marlene Kairouz presented the accolade at the Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together awards on Friday last week.
With 15 finalists across three categories, Greater Shepparton took out this year’s HART Awards in the local government category for its Aboriginal Street Art Project, recognising the initiative’s steps toward reconciliation.
Greater Shepparton was joined by fellow winners the Lake Bolac Eel Festival for its Kuyang Lapakira event and Inner North West Primary Care Partnership for their project Working in Two Worlds.
The awards were part of Reconciliation Week (May 27 to June 3), following the launch of Shepparton’s Aboriginal Female Mural on Tuesday last week — stage two of the Aboriginal Street Art project.
According to Greater Shepparton’s website, the project was flagged in 2016 as an idea to celebrate the region’s Aboriginal people and their culture through street art.
First launched to the public last year, stage one of the project featured mural portraits of Aboriginal greats Uncle William Cooper and Uncle Doug Nicholls.
This was followed by this year’s launch of stage two — the female mural that features two significant past elders Aunty Margaret Tucker (MBE) and Nora ‘‘Nanny’’ Charles.
The state government said this year’s HART winners and finalists demonstrated when Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians and organisations committed to meaningful, two-way relationships there was opportunity for tremendous change.
Ms Kairouz said it was important to celebrate the partnerships that existed between local government and Aboriginal communities.
‘‘Only by working together will we achieve reconciliation in Victoria,’’ she said.
Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Minister Natalie Hutchins said Reconciliation Week was a time for all Victorians to gain a greater understanding of Aboriginal cultures and history, celebrating the vibrant Aboriginal community in the state.
The theme for this year’s Reconciliation Week was ‘‘Don’t keep history a mystery: Learn. Share. Grow’’, which encouraged the community to partake in, enjoy, and learn about the rich cultural history of Aboriginal Victorians.
The HART awards were first organised in 2014, coinciding with National Reconciliation Week.
The awards are a partnership between the Victorian Local Governance Association and Reconciliation Victoria, supported by Bank Australia and Local Government Victoria.
For more information on HART and all finalists, visit reconciliationvic.org.au/hart-awards