Hundreds of people have gathered to witness the unveiling of a nine-metre mural in Shepparton depicting prominent Yorta Yorta men, Sir Douglas Nicholls and William Cooper. Descendents of both men were present at the launch and were delighted with the mural.
Sir Douglas Nicholls was an Indigenous AFL player, pastor, Indigenous rights and reconciliation campaigner and the first Indigenous Governor in Australia as Governor of South Australia. He was also the first Aboriginal Australian to be knighted. In honour of his legacy, the AFL's Indigenous Round is named after Sir Douglas, who played for Fitzroy in the 1930s.
William Cooper was an activist and community leader who was instrumental in campaigns for Aboriginal rights. He was also known for his protest against the treatment of Jews by Nazi Germany, organising a petition with the Australian Aboriginal League to condemn the persecution of the Jewish population following Kristallnacht.
The launch of the mural is timely in the lead-up to NAIDOC Week. NAIDOC Week was born out of the Day of Mourning protest held in 1938 which was pioneered by William Cooper and supported by Sir Douglas Nicholls. The protest became a day of national observance, which then evolved into the week-long recognition, remembrance, and celebration for Indigenous people and heritage now known as NAIDOC Week.
The mural is part of an ongoing Aboriginal Street Art project to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous people to life in Shepparton. This is a great way to remember and pay tribute to such important figures in our history.
To read more about the mural and its launch click here