|Contact person||T: 8945 6544 E: CDUEvents@cdu.edu.au|
|Location||Red 7 - Mal Nairn Auditorium|
This event has been postponed until further notice. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.
Walking on our land our way - The momentum for a constitutional right to be heard
Author, union official and advocate for the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Thomas Mayor, will deliver the 21st Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture in 2021.
Thomas Mayor’s keynote address will discuss what we can learn from the historic 1966 Wave Hill Station Walk-off led by Vincent Lingiari and if his mob’s goal to live on the land on their own terms was achieved, or was thwarted by a hostile Government of the time.
He will talk about the lessons from the past, the relevance of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and in particular the proposal for a constitutionally enshrined Voice, and the reason why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and broader Australia have overwhelmingly supported that campaign.
Thomas will explore Vincent Lingiari’s legacy and the community’s achievements lead by the Gurindji heroes of today, who have followed in the great man’s footsteps.
Thomas Mayor is a Kaurareg, Erubam and Kalkalgal man born on Larrakia country in Darwin. As a Torres Strait Islander growing up on the mainland, he learned to hunt traditional foods with his father and to island dance from the Darwin community of Torres Strait Islanders.
Thomas was a wharfie in Darwin for sixteen years, before becoming an elected official of the union that covers wharfies, seafarers, port workers and divers in 2010 – The Maritime Union of Australia. Thomas is now the National Indigenous Officer of the union. He is an activist and author, and tirelessly educates others on the importance of Australia going to a Referendum to enshrine a First Nations Voice in the constitution.
Quietly spoken in character, Thomas found his voice on the wharves. As he gained the skills of negotiation and organising in the union movement, he applied those skills to advancing the rights of Indigenous peoples, becoming a signatory to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and a tireless campaigner for it’s proposals for an enshrined Voice to Parliament, along with a Makarrata Commission to supervise truth-telling, and treaty making.
Following the Uluru National Constitutional Convention in 2017, Thomas was entrusted to carry the sacred canvas of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. He then embarked on an eighteen-month journey around the country to build a peoples movement for the Voice referendum, a movement that continues to grow today.
In October 2020, Thomas published his first bestselling book, Finding the Heart of the Nation. In his first book, Thomas narrates the stories, histories and hopes of twenty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and how they relate to the proposals in the Uluru Statement. This book was followed up by Finding Our Heart for young Australians. In August this year, Thomas published his third book, Freedom Day – Vincent Lingiari and the story of the Wave Hill Walk-Off, co-authored with one of Vincent Lingiari’s granddaughters, Rosie Smiler. And in September, he released his fourth book, Dear Son – Letters and reflections from First Nations fathers and sons.