NAIDOC Week 2019: Griffith comes together for a shared future

Around 200 people, including 30 excited kids from Griffith’s Early Childhood Education Centres watched as flags were raised to mark the start of NAIDOC Week 2019 at Nathan campus.

It is the first time flag raising ceremonies have been held at Nathan, Mt Gravatt, Gold Coast and Logan campuses to mark the start of a week long celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Cheryl Godwell-Pepper, Director GUMURRII Student Support Unit, said around a thousand students, staff and community members watched the flags go up across campuses.

“We had unprecedented numbers to the inaugural flag raising ceremonies and this is a clear testament to the height of interest in and commitment to first peoples issues across the university, both internally and externally,” she said.

“The ceremonies are a sign of mutual regard and respect for our Indigenous Elders, past, present and future and the university’s commitment to indigenous issues both now and into the future.

“Having the children and early childcare centres and staff involved was also a really important statement and symbolic gesture of our whole of community apprach to such celebrations and more importantly, intergenerational aspirations for higher education.

“2019’s activities have set a precedent for what we’d like to see happening across all campuses next year and we look forward to NAIDOC Week 2020 being even bigger, brighter and bolder, with contributions from stakeholders across and throughout the entire university and beyond.”


Andrew Smith – Indigenous Student Representative, Sonia Williams – Indigenous Engagement Officer, Cheryl Godwell-Pepper – Director GUMURRII SSU, Debra Henly – Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor, Shane Barnes – GUMURRII Office Manager and John Graham – Senior Learning Assistance Officer

The flag-raising ceremonies were hosted jointly by GUMURRII, the Student Representative Council and a range of internal and external stakeholders.

Griffith again played a key part in the annual Musgrave Park Family Fun Day, to round out NAIDOC Week activities.

“We had one of the largest stalls and presence at this community festival and it’s a yearly celebration of Australian Indigenous culture, resistance and resilience and its about engaging with the broader community and spending time with them and others,” said Cheryl.

GUMURRII Student Support Unit

The GUMURRII Student Support Unit is the heart of Griffith University’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and is located on each of Griffith’s campuses.

GUMURRII is a dedicated support unit for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled at Griffith and staff assist students from recruitment, orientation to graduation, providing undergraduate and postgraduate support, including tutorial assistance, in a safe and culturally appropriate learning environment.


Did you know?

The first NAIDOC poster was created in 1972 to promote “Aborigines Day” which had become widely accepted as a day for Australians to come together in support for better rights for Indigenous people.