Monday, 18 February 2019
Roberts, Ms Rhoda, McGillivray, Mr Max
I'd like to acknowledge a member of my community today, Rhoda Roberts, who was recently described in The Sydney Morning Herald as 'one of the pre-eminent Australian arts figures of her generation'. When you look at her achievements, you can understand why. She appeared many years ago in the television series Blue Heelers and a number of Indigenous theatrical pieces, including Radiance at the Belvoir St Theatre, that became a box office hit.
Rhoda founded the Indigenous Arts Festival, The Dreaming, in 1997, which gave emphasis to the cultures, the languages and the art of New South Wales Aboriginal life, helping to foster, reclaim and encourage a way of life so it wouldn't be lost. In fact, Rhoda, is credited by some with coining the phrase 'Welcome to Country' and has established protocol manuals and welcomes by local custodians for the arts industry. In 2012, Rhoda joined the Sydney Opera House as head of Indigenous Programming and in 2016 was awarded an Order of Australia, recognising her love for the arts. This was the same year that Rhoda coordinated the lighting of the sails of the Sydney Opera House with Indigenous artworks. Her many other achievements include the Boomerang Festival at Bluesfest, Artistic Director of the Festival of the Dreaming staged in the lead-up to the 2000 Olympic Games, the Rugby World Cup 2003, the Athens Olympic Games handover ceremony, and many other events too numerous to list.
She's a proud Widjabul woman of the clan of the same name—one of the 26 groups of the Bundjalung nation, which is part of my community. She lives with her partner, Steven, and has daughters, Emily and Sarah, and son, Jack. Congratulations, Rhoda, on your achievements.
I would like to congratulate young Max McGillivray of Evans Head. He's a surfer with a load of talent, which he proved recently when he won the Taj's Small Fries surfing competition in Yallingup, Western Australia, during the school holidays. This competition was established by the famous surfer, Taj Burrow, to nurture future surfing talent and is in its 14th year. Not only did Max score first place in the under-10 competition and third in the under-12 competition; he also landed a Billabong team membership, handed to him personally by Taj. To top it off, Max was also awarded the outstanding surfer award for the entire event. His proud parents, Mick and Katrina, his little sister, Mia, and his coach, Peter Duncan, have all been instrumental in getting him to this point in his career. We wish Max all the very best.