TO TOODYAY Shire Chief Executive Officer, Stan Scott, and members of the Toodyay Shire Council
My name is Nicole Coleman and I, along with my family, have recently relocated to your shire after spending a number of years travelling through and living in many other regional areas of Australia.
While we are loving the warm welcome we are receiving in Toodyay and exploring the activities, services and facilities available to residents, we have noticed a glaring omission in the way Toodyay markets and presents its social and cultural heritage.
Many other regional shires throughout Australia, faced with the challenges of an increasingly urban focus and the need to maintain an economic footing, have invested heavily in promoting their historic heritage largely for the purposes of attracting tourism.
This is a strength of the Toodyay community – the signage around town, the Moondyne Festival and the showcasing of historic buildings in the area are integral to attracting the city ‘weekender’ and their coffee-and-cake spending to the area.
However, where is the acknowledgement of the significant history, influence and contribution of Noongar/Ballardong people to this area?
We have not seen any informational signage telling the stories of local Noongar people or places of significance.
There is little use of local language or place names; the only exception we have seen is Duidgee Park and in this case there is no information signage explaining the origins of the name ‘duidgee’ or which language it comes from.
There are no brass signs giving any indication of a pre-European history or of how Noongar people continue to be part of the fabric of Toodyay life.
Most notably, we have seen no Aboriginal flag flying in the town as an official recognition of Noongar people, past and present, in this local area.
It is common practice for regional shires to fly the Aboriginal flag alongside the national Australian flag and local/state flags and its omission at the front of the Toodyay Shire Council speaks volumes.
I call upon the members of local council, the Community Development Officer and the Shire Chief Executive Officer to respond to the absence of an Aboriginal flag and broader acknowledgement of the Noongar community in the Toodyay area and ask that as a respectful and cultural priority an
Aboriginal flag is flown at the shire offices alongside our other official flags.
Many thanks for your careful consideration of this important issue.
Nicole Coleman, Toodyay