A light that burns bright

The theme for NAIDOC Week which starts on Sunday is Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud and Proud! Now in its 49th year, NAIDOC Week has the aim of celebrating and recognising the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is also an opportunity for all Australians to learn about the cultures and histories of First Nations’ peoples.

The theme of light and fire was also prominent when the Forgiveness Cross on Memory Mountain was officially launched at Easter last year. ‘Let there be light!’ was the cry of Kieran Multa, Ikuntji Elder, on the evening of Good Friday in Central Australia when the Cross was illuminated.


The Indigenous-led vision to construct a 20-metre Cross on the summit of Memory Mountain reflects the faith, culture and creativity of the local Aboriginal people. Memory Mountain is located near Haasts Bluff in the Northern Territory.


In 2009, local elders shared their vision with landscape photographer Ken Duncan to build a cross on the mountain. Inspired by their concept, Duncan established the Walk a While Foundation in 2010. He had no idea at that time, the vision would include a 20-metre steel cross that would be seen for hundreds of kilometres at night when lit.


The journey to bring this project to fruition brought many challenges before construction was completed in late 2022.“The Aboriginal people have had to fight hard against bureaucracy and all sorts of challenges. They’ve had to stand up to people and say, ‘No, this is our cross,’” said Duncan.


The Cross hopes to attract visitors from around Australia and the world to ‘foster connection, understanding, relationship reconciliation and economic benefit’ with local indigenous people.


“It makes me feel really proud to have black and white come together. It doesn’t matter what nationality you are; an image of God is one,” said Keiran Multa, an Ikuntji Elder.




NAIDOC Week runs until Sunday July 14.


Further details about NAIDOC Week go to: https://www.naidoc.org.au/ and for information about the Forgiveness Cross on Memory Mountain: https://memorymountain.com.au/the-cross-on-memory-mountain/


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