Blue Mountains City Council is busy organising major events for the bicentenary focus — 21 Days on the Mountain — from May 11-31 following the official launch of the crossings bicentenary by the NSW Governor, Professor Marie Bashir.
“21 Days on the Mountain will offer a variety of civic and community events, and provide an opportunity for the community to get a taste of the journey across the Mountains”, said Blue Mountains Mayor Daniel Myles.
“The community’s enthusiasm to be involved in the Bicentenary Crossings commemorations is heartening,” he said.
“The Blue Mountains Lithgow Oberon Tourism event last weekend was a huge success and a demonstration of the significance of this historic occasion.
“I invite the community to be a part of this historic celebration. Talk to your local schools, chamber of commerce, church, heritage society or sports club about running a local event or inviting a guest speaker to attend your group during the 21 Days on the Mountain.
“I think the NSW Governor summed it up beautifully by saying, ‘the crossings bicentenary celebrations are an opportunity to provide for great joy for Australia’s future’.”
A contemporary Aboriginal arts project — Crossing Country, Making Tracks and Sharing Culture — will feature in the calendar of events. This original performance work will bring Blue Mountains Aboriginal elders, visual artists, dancers and composers together to explore Aboriginal responses to the bicentenary of the first European crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813.
Professor Bashir spoke passionately about the historical significance of the crossing of the Blue Mountains at a gala dinner on Friday, February 22, the day before the official launch at Echo Point.
She also reflected on the impacts of that crossing, not only to European settlement, but to the lives and land of Aboriginal people, which were drastically altered.
The governor was joined by local children, Elly and Lucy Hope of Katoomba and Lachlan Jones of Lawson, to light the Crossings Community Candle at an interfaith ceremony at Blue Mountains Cultural Centre on Saturday, February 23.
The crossings launch is just the start of the calendar of events in 2013.
“The Blue Mountains Crossings Bicentenary commemorations aim to encompass the three faces of the crossings: custodians (Aboriginal people still here, still caring for country); wayfinders (those exploring and building ways through, over and around the Blue Mountains); and settlers/visitors (those drawn to live, work and spend time in the Blue Mountains),” said Clr Daniel Myles.
The expanding calendar of bicentenary events can be found at www.bluemountainscrossings.com.au.