Walk for Reconciliation on 28 May 2000

BY MEL BONDFIELD AND BETH TAYLOR

WARNING: This article may contain names, images or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As part of the NFSA's Television News and Current Affairs Program (Newscaf), and to coincide with Reconciliation Week 2018, we look back at the Walk for Reconciliation across the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 28 May 2000. 

It was a day of healing and inspiration that was almost 10 years in the making. This Nine Network news report captured the mood of the day with extraordinary pictures of an estimated 250,000 people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, young and old, and from all walks of life, showing their support for reconciliation.

The crowd walked from the north end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the south and into Darling Harbour. Organisers were unsure what numbers the event would attract and hoped they would see a few hundred people get involved. Instead, the crowds continued in waves across the bridge for nearly six hours.

Then they gathered in Darling Harbour for a free open-air concert featuring some of Australia's favourite musicians of the time.

John Williamson and Jimmy Little's performance of 'This Ancient Land' on stage together in Darling Harbour seemed to embody the spirit of the event, with Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians coming together to share their national pride. 

The march was organised by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, an organisation created in 1991 and tasked with steering the reconciliation process in the lead-up to the Centenary of Federation in 2001.

The Council's work culminated in Corroboree 2000, a two-day event that included a meeting of high-profile Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders to present the Roadmap for Reconciliation, followed by the Walk for Reconciliation the next day.

Newscaf highlights some of the significant and intriguing stories in the NFSA's television news collection that have been digitally preserved for future generations to enjoy and explore.

Photo credit (main image): Seselja, Loui (2000). 'Huge crowd on Sydney Harbour Bridge during the Walk for Reconciliation, Corroboree 2000', Courtesy National Library of Australia.