KNOX residents' interest in reconciliation is stronger than in many other communities, an Aboriginal advocate believes.
Ray Higgs is the chairman of Towards Reconciliation in Knox and his comments followed a report to a council meeting this month examining the possibility of erecting a sculpture in Knox to acknowledge the wrongdoings towards Aboriginal people.
Cr Joe Cossari had called for the report at a June council meeting and the next stage is to consult with the local Aboriginal community.
Mr Higgs said he thought the idea was excellent as long as all the right protocols of consultation had been followed, and an Aboriginal artist was commissioned.
"The Sorry Day ceremony in May is always very well attended, compared to other communities," he said. "There is a strong interest by the community towards reconciliation."
Mr Higgs said he thought a sculpture would be appropriate, although he didn't want to restrict the work of the future artist. "I would like to see it outside because that is indicative of Aboriginal culture. Perhaps in a park in a prominent place, maybe near Knox City [shopping centre] to be well noticed and make a statement," he said.
Cr Cossari told the Weekly he would like to see the community and businesses fund the artwork, rather than the council. Mr Higgs agreed with the sentiment.
There was some debate at this month's meeting over the wording of the recommendations — specifically whether the word 'wrongdoings' should be included.
Mr Higgs said: "I don't mind if it acknowledges the injustices of the past, as long as it also has a positive focus. It should acknowledge the contributions they have made to the continent by caring for the environment and land — then and now."
Cr Cossari denied his suggestion was an election stunt and said it was an issue he had been passionate about for a long time.
During his time as a councillor in Maroondah, he commissioned some Aboriginal artwork which hung in the council offices before being moved to Ringwood Federal Estate.
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