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Worimi Elders, Defence personnel come together to inaugurate new yarning circle

Callan Morse -

Worimi Elders joined Air Force aviators to inaugurate the RAAF Base Williamtown Ngarralbaa (yarning circle) this month.

Facilitated by RAAF Williamtown Indigenous Liaison Officer, Flight Lieutenant Coen Henry and attended by approximately 100 people attended the event on December 5.

Worimi Elders delivered a Welcome to Country and conducted a smoking ceremony prior to a round-circle facilitation, commemorating the opening of the space.

In addition to Flight Lieutenant Henry, numerous people spoke during the inauguration including RAAF Williamtown Senior ADF Officer Group, Captain Anthony Stainton and Worimi Elder Aunty Lorraine Lilley.

Aunty Lorraine said Worimi peoples have a strong relationship with RAAF Base Williamstown.

Flight Lieutenant Coen Henry speaking at the official opening of the yarning circle. (Image: Aircraftwoman Laura Flower)

"It is a strong partnership and has been for quite a while now. This is a very important space, I am trusting that it will be used and respected in the coming years," she said.

"I am quite impressed with the number of people participating in the smoking ceremony and discussion."

Flight Lieutenant Henry described the Ngarralbaa (yarning circle) as a place of deep learning, listening and reflection.

"It is a space where everyone is equal and heard without judgement or interruption," he said.

"Importantly, RAAF Base Williamtown acknowledges that this space is situated on the lands of the Worimi people, the traditional custodians of this region.

"We are united in our belief of 'One Team, One Culture'.

Flight Lieutenant Coen Henry speaking at the official opening of the yarning circle. (Image: Aircraftwoman Laura Flower)

"We are stronger when we stand together, united as one."

Group Captain Stainton said Flight Lieutenant Henry was responsible for overcoming barriers to ensure the Ngarralbaa (yearning) space came to fruition to provide a culturally-appropriate place for people to gather and share stories.

Fittingly, the Ngarralbaa (yearning) space is opposite the the Len Waters Building, named after Indigenous fighter pilot Leonard 'Len' Waters.

"It is the yin and yang and balance where important meetings take place, and in a prominent position for all members to share, care for and enjoy," Group Captain Stainton said.

"There will be many people who continue to benefit from this fantastic facility."

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