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Opening of the Legal Year in Geelong
16 January 2017
On Monday 16 January, Justice Clyde Croft presided over a ceremonial sitting at the Geelong Law Courts to celebrate the opening of the legal year in Geelong.
Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen, Magistrate McGarvie, the regional coordinating magistrate, and Aunty Fay Muir, one of eight Elders who sits on the Koori Court in Geelong, joined his Honour on the Bench.
The opening of the legal year is an opportunity to reflect upon the role of Courts and the Rule of Law. In his remarks, Justice Croft reflected on 175 years of the Supreme Court in Victoria, an anniversary milestone celebrated in 2016.
The Chief Magistrate spoke about family violence and the work of the Magistrates’ Court. Aunty Fay Muir, a Senior Elder of the Wathaurong, provided insight into the operation of Koori Court in Geelong.
Also in court was Bunjil, a giant eagle, quietly watching over the ceremony. Originally built to open the 2016 Gala Day parade in Geelong, the beautiful eagle was developed by Brett Smith and students from The Gordon Institute of Tafe.
This year, the Court marked the opening of the legal year with a special exhibition of artwork by established and emerging local Indigenous artists living within Wathaurong country. Among the works on display included pieces by Nathan Patterson, Raymond Walters, Kerri Black, Bronwyn Razem and Wathaurong Glass.
A collection of artwork by students from St. Josephs College Geelong was also on display. The collection entitled ‘Starting the conversation’ is a project part funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation that addresses the impact of gambling on Aboriginal communities.
The traditional boundaries of the Wathaurong people span the coastline from the Werribee River to Lorne peninsula and traverse inland in a north westerly direction towards Ballarat. The Wathaurong people have lived within these regions for more than 25,000 years. Today, a great number of Wathaurong people continue to live in the area.
Planning for a permanent presence of local Indigenous artwork in the Geelong legal precinct is under consideration.
Photos from the opening