Australian South Sea Islander Day
July 21, 2021
Employees at Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) are being given a taste of culture this week, with traditional food, dancing and an even history-lesson to acknowledge and celebrate Australian South Sea Islander people.
Every year, Australian South Sea Islander National Recognition Day is acknowledged on 25th August.
The day follows after the Commonwealth Government officially recognised the distinct cultural group in 1994 and the significant contributions Australian South Sea Islander peoples made to the economic, cultural and social development of Queensland.
Special guests from across the region were all invited to share their Australian South Sea Islander culture and history with employees, including Jovitah Corowa from the Pacific Pikinis Dance Group and members from the Future Directions Community Liaison Group.
Indigenous Affairs Officer Lee-Ann Dudley said the 25th August was an important date on the calendar for Queenslanders to understand the traditions and history behind the day.
“The idea of this event is to encourage our employees to go home and talk to their family and friends about Australian South Sea Islander Day,” Ms Dudley said.
“The best way to acknowledge and celebrate this distinct cultural group is by sharing the Australian South Sea Islander People’s culture and their history to teach not just younger generations but older generations too,” she said.
According to the Queensland Museum, Australian South Sea Islanders are descendants of South Sea Islanders who were transported to Australia to work as indentured labour in the in the Queensland Sugar Industry in the late 1800’s.
Some 62,000 islanders, mainly from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, arrived between 1863 and 1904.
The event not only increases awareness for Australian South Sea Islander National Recognition Day and GPC’s Reconciliation Action Plan but it also demonstrates GPC’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation.