Chronicle wins UN award again

IN MELBOURNE last night, a packed audience in the Grand Hyatt ballroom learned that the Fraser Coast Chronicle had won Australia's most prestigious award for indigenous reconciliation - for the second year running.

The United Nations Association 2009 Media Peace Awards dinner was hosted by SBS's Anton Enus and the awards attracted a record number of entries from mainstream media around the country.

The Chronicle's second year of publishing its landmark series, Let's Learn Butchulla; Hands in Time, Journeying Together took out the premier award for Aboriginal reconciliation against two other finalists, The Age and SBS World News.

This year's series was sponsored by the Bligh government's Q150 fund under the auspices of Zonta Hervey Bay. Last year Oxmar Properties' Phil Murphy and the Hervey Bay RSL sponsored the inaugural series.

Each Monday during the two middle school terms the series went out to every primary and high school on the Coast, with hundreds of students and teachers using the pages to learn about Butchulla culture, history and language.

APN Australian Publishing's chief executive Mark Jamieson accepted the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Promotion of Aboriginal Reconciliation Award from Helen Hambling, acting deputy secretary for FaHCSIA.

Mr Jamieson began his moving speech with the Butchulla phrase for thank you, “galangoor nyin”.

“Language, understanding, communication and respect are at the heart of our reconciliation project to recognise the cultural contribution made and the hardships endured by the indigenous people of the Fraser Coast, the Butchulla,” he said.

“I'd urge all media and government, at state and federal levels, to have a close look at what we are achieving for the common good of our community.”

Mr Jamieson thanked Butchulla elders, including Frances Gala and linguist Joyce Bonner, and artist Shawn Wondunna-Foley for their outstanding support for the series over two years.

Mr Jamieson read from a letter sent by Butchulla elders who said they wanted “to acknowledge the hard work of the Chronicle and its employees in presenting through the local paper a taste of Butchulla history of language and culture”.

“This journey not only allowed the truth to be unveiled but has recognised the local Butchulla people, speaking their mother tongue, through their culture.”

“Great praise must go to our features editor Toni McRae who has embraced this project with unreserved passion and determination and our recently retired editor, Nancy Bates, who was pivotal in establishing the Let's Learn Butchulla series.”

Chronicle editor Peter Chapman said last night that winning the ward was both “humbling and inspirational”.

“We are this community's flagship daily newspaper and to be able to reflect this in a series like Let's Learn Butchulla - and then go on, with our Butchulla partners, to win such a prestigious national award - is important for the whole of the region.”

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