Alpha Company, the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR), took part in the South Australian community of Victor Harbor’s NAIDOC Week celebrations.
Forty members of the company participated in the community’s march through the town and a commemorative service at the Soldiers’ Memorial Garden.
The service included a traditional smoking ceremony, Indigenous music and Dreamtime story readings, courtesy of members of the Ngarrindjeri and Ramindjeri tribes, the traditional custodians of the land and waters surrounding Victor Harbor.
Officer Commanding Alpha Company Major Phillip Kennedy joined Victor Harbor’s Mayor Moira Jenkins in raising the Australian flag at the service.
“It was a privilege to be a part of this year’s NAIDOC Week and I, as well as the soldiers, look forward to future opportunities to work with the residents of Victor Harbor,” Major Kennedy said.
Private Andy Willems said he felt very privileged to be part of such a moving ceremony.
“To me, NAIDOC Week is a great opportunity to celebrate and learn about the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Private Willems said.
“I felt privileged to be a part of such an important ceremony and look forward to celebrating NAIDOC Week with 7RAR in the years to come.”
Major Kennedy said the activity provided the opportunity for 7RAR to gather with the community in a COVID-safe way to build important relationships.
“NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for Australians to come to gather; to enjoy the rich cultures of Australia and learn more about Indigenous customs and traditions,” Major Kennedy said.
After the commemorative service, the soldiers joined the community for lunch, which was provided by the local Rotary Club, before kicking off some sporting activities for children.