Site cleansed before building work starts at Katoomba

Aunty Carol Cooper’s father served his country in war but could not join the RSL when he returned home.

Thankfully, before he died there was a change of heart in officialdom and he was allowed to march. And for that his daughter, a Gundungurra elder, is grateful.

Aunty Carol expressed her thanks to the RSL for its work with returned soldiers at a smoking ceremony on the site of the old Katoomba RSL Club on Tuesday (June 12).

“Dad wasn’t allowed to be in the RSL when he first came home, being Aboriginal that’s what happened and he sort of accepted that,” she told the small group gathered on the cleared cement slab.

“Two years before he died he was allowed to march so he was very proud. He had something to think of before he died and what’s why I thank the RSL.”

Her father proudly marched and was publicly recognised for his service, she said.

The smoking ceremony – and there was more than one remark about the aptness of smoke at the scene of the clubhouse which burned down in February last year – was led by Aunty Jacinta Tobin to cleanse the site ahead of the new building.

Club president, Brian Turner, welcomed the ceremony, saying: “I want to acknowledge the contribution made by members of  the Aboriginal community for the defence of Australia during war time and in peace time.”

The Koori Club choir from Katoomba Public School sang a song about their totem, the king parrot, and the site was declared ready for action.

The builders are expected on site from June 25 to construct the new clubhouse..