Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation

A Remembrance Day to remember

. Joe Flick places soil and mememtos on Willaim Taskers grave.

By Joe Flick

Former Wiradjuri  Condobolin Corporation employee  Joe Flick was a part of a delegation of 81 people from across New South Wales that took 2 Indigenous Under 17’s rugby league teams on a tour to France and Italy in November 2015.

The tour was organised by Steve Hall (NSW Rugby League) and Tas Baitieri (International Development Manager NRL) and included former NRL players Ronnie “Rambo” Gibbs and Beau Champion.  Joe was responsible for organising a visit to Villers Bretonneux for Remembrance Day.  This has been the 3rd year in a row that Joe has been in France for Remembrance Day.  “As 2015 was the 100th Anniversary of the Landing at Gallipoli we wanted to pay our respects to all fallen soldiers including the Aboriginal soldiers who did not come home”

“If you would have asked me 3 years ago if I would be doing that I would have said no way”.  Joe’s Grandfather Mick Flick from Collarenebri had enlisted in World War 1 in Narrabri in 1916 and saw action on the Western Front.  “I remember my Dad telling me about some of the places that Pop was at including Villers Bretonneux, Hamel and others”

Joe had taken soil from Burra Bee Dee Aboriginal mission at Coonabarabran to scatter on the grave of William IRWIN and soil from Gingi Mission at Walgett to scatter on the grave of Thomas DODD.  “It was my way of connecting them back to country and to show that someone has come to visit them” They like so many others are so far from family and home.

On the 11th November the group visited the National Memorial early in the morning and Joe scattered soil from the Condobolin Cemetery onto William TASKER’s grave.  William was born in Condobolin and it was an honour to share Williams’s story with those present on the day.  William landed at Gallipoli on ANZAC Day but was wounded in May and returned to Australia.  He tried to re-enlist on 3 occasions and was eventually successful.

William died on the battlefield fighting for the freedom that we enjoy today.  Joe would like to thank the Condobolin Sports Club for their donation towards his trip.

Later that morning the group was a guest of the Mayor of Villers Bretonneux, Monsieur Patrick Simon for the Remembrance Day service.  “In 2014 I was also a guest of the Mayor for the service but then I was by myself and this year there was the most Kooris on the Western Front since WW1”

Joe had taken the Aboriginal flag, the Torres Strait Islander flag and the Australian flag with him and 3 of the boys carried these flags in the March alongside the French flag.  Two other young men laid a wreath with the Mayor at this very emotional service.

That afternoon the 2 Under 17 Indigenous teams played 2 French development squads at Villers Bretonneux, the first time that rugby league was played in the village.  The Indigenous teams won both games.  At the presentation after the games Heath Gibbs and Jalen Rose were presented with the Larkin Medal for the Best and Fairest in their respective games.

“The Larkin Medal was something that I come up with to honour the first fulltime Secretary of the NSW Rugby League, Edward Larkin.  Edward was one of only two sitting members of Parliament who enlisted in the First World War and sadly both were killed on the 25th April at ANZAC Cove in 1915”.

Joe was presented with a pewter Poppy by the Mayor at the presentation.  “I have spoken to school groups over there about Australian history and our role on the Western Front and have also presented resources to the museum including books, a didgeridoo and replica medals of my Grandfather”.The following day Joe flew to London to conduct a Commemorative Service for Joseph Knight an Aboriginal soldier from Bourke who died at Salisbury Isolation hospital in 1917.  Salisbury is about 150klms from London.  The service was held at the St Lawrence’s Church at Stratford Sub-Castle.

“The following morning the attack on Paris had happened and at one stage the borders to France was closed and I was a little worried about how was I going to get back to join up with the touring group who were still in France but had moved to the south of France about 8 hours from Paris” There were a lot of anxious hours and a number of Mums and families wanting us to bring their boys home immediately.  Following advice from the Australian Embassy we continued the tour and after a couple of more days in France we moved on to Rome for 4 days of sightseeing. The boys had played 8 games on tour, 6 against French teams and 2 against an Italian development squad and were unbeaten.

“It was a Remembrance Day to remember and I am sure that these young Australians will look back on the tour and not only remember the games and the sights but also know and understand the sacrifice made by so many Australians on the battlefields of France”


Backing Local Youth

A partnership is being formed between an organisation that helps youth at risk and the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC).

• Condobolin’s Darran Powell and BackTrack’s Paul Dawson with Gibson and Bindi. More on the BackTrack visit on page 6 of the Argus 9th September. MB

By Melissa Blewitt

A partnership is being formed between an organisation that helps youth at risk and the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC).

Representatives of BackTrack Youth Works spent time in Condobolin last week, listening, learning and sharing what it does to help engage young people and re-connect them with education, employment and their community.

“BackTrack helps kids having a hard time,” Backtrack founder and former Jackaroo, Bernie Shakeshaft said.

BackTrack was founded about 10 years ago at Armidale, and Mr Shakeshaft said communities across Australia are keen to get on board.

BackTrack has a strong rural component and its programs for young people include welding, dog training and teaching them agricultural skills.

The Condobolin visit included a team of 20 teenagers and dogs from Backtrack’s Paws Up dog jumping team who displayed their skills to the community during WCC’s NAIDOC celebrations l



The BackTrack Trainers and Condobolin Youth enjoyed working with the dogs.


Circle of sisterhood builds community

Local and visiting Indigenous women have been cooking, creating, learning and building a greater sense of community.

• Lucy Dobbin running a nutritional eating class as a part of the Sister Circle workshops at the Wiradjuri Study Centre with (back) WCC’s Natasha Stewart and participant Bev Coe. LP

By Lara Pearce

Local and visiting Indigenous women have been cooking, creating, learning and building a greater sense of community.

The Sister Circle is a two-day program run by regional enterprise corporation, Murdi Paaki, designed to teach Aboriginal women skills and provide a culturally supportive environment. In Condobolin, the program was held on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 April at the Wiradjuri Study Centre.

The Centre’s Tourist Information Officer, Natasha Stewart, has been helping co-ordinate the workshops. “The Sister Circle brings ladies from different communities together to learn and meet together,” she explained.

“Ladies from out of town get to stay in Condobolin and go out and meet the community – so it is not just about the workshops.”

Murdi Paaki brought several women to Condobolin to run workshops. They spoke on governance and leadership, employment, tenants’ rights and responsibilities and enterprise and development.

Several local women also led workshops. Condobolin Hospital’s Leonie Parker spoke to the gathering on women’s health, while other hospital staff, led by dietician Lucy Dobbins, ran a nutritional workshop. This saw a number of women getting hands-on in the kitchen making a range of nutritional meals for the gathering to share in.

Local Indigenous artist, Gloria Reid, also ran a workshop, where she showed the women how to make canvas artworks using bark.

Sister Circles are also being held in Dubbo, Orange, Lightning Ridge, Bourke and Broken Hill.

Ms Stewart said that it was a great opportunity for the women to talk about issues which affect their lives and learn from each other.

Local and visiting Indigenous women have been cooking, creating, learning and building a greater sense of community.

• There was a good turnout for the Murdi Paaki’s Sister Circle workshops at the Wiradjuri Study Centre recently. LP

Humphries offers guarded support for standalone councils

By Lara Pearce

The ‘Fit for the Future’ program was a hot issue at last week’s Annual Western Division Conference, igniting lively debate in the Wiradjuri Centre conference room.

The NSW Government initiative aims to make local councils more economical, proposing that some amalgamate or become a rural council – a new form of council with fewer councillors and less red tape.

Western Division councillors were keen to seek the assurance of Minister for Western NSW, Kevin Humphries, that they would not be forced into amalgamating.

While Mr Humphries said that he did not support amalgamation for councils in Western NSW, he stopped short of promising the Government’s support.

“You’re not going to get a response out of the Government until everybody has really had their say,” he said.

“In some parts of the state you will see people combining.”

“It is about giving local communities and Councils the option to participate. They want the capacity to expand and to set up infrastructure as well.”

Both Lachlan Shire Council’s Mayor, Des Manwaring, and the Acting General Manager, Alan McCormack, have previously voiced their support for remaining a standalone council in spite of the Fit for the Future panel’s recommendation to amalgamate with Parkes.

“Our position is clear,” the Mayor stated. “We want the boundaries of Lachlan Shire Council to stay as they are.”

All local councils in New South Wales will have to submit a Fit for the Future report to the NSW Government outlining their plans for long-term economic sustainability by 30 June.

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