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New comic book an aid to reconciliation and understanding

Monday 31 May 2021

News_New comic book an aid to reconciliation and understanding

Reconciliation Week in the Central West is being marked with the launch of a specially commissioned publication designed to increase awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

Central West Hospital and Health Service Executive Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Dan Carter said the special publication, titled “The Great Debate’’ and created in the form of a full colour comic book, would be launched on 4 June at the Barcaldine State School.

Reconciliation Week is observed nationally from 27 May to 3 June.

“The aim of this comic book is to create a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth mental health and bullying,’’ Mr Carter said.

“The story also highlights the longstanding contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the modern Australian way of life, and the need for better recognition.’’

He said the book had been commissioned by Central West Health and had been developed under the creative leadership of artist Damian Amamoo.

Mr Carter said workshops to develop the storyline and scripts for the comic book included creative contributions from Barcaldine State School students and Central West Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers.

He said a video also had been developed of the journey involved in developing the book.

“This has been an incredible creative partnership and a unique journey in which our health service has had the privilege of being involved,’’ he said.

“I would like to think Damian, all the students and our health workers for their commitment in bringing this project to fruition.
“It’s been amazing to see the passion and enthusiasm of everyone involved in this creative journey.

“I would hope the comic book will lead to a greater understanding of the issues facing young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, as well as a greater appreciation for and understanding of Indigenous culture in general.

“This year’s National Reconciliation Week theme is – ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’.

“Our comic book is designed to prompt this debate within our communities, motivate action and encourage changes for the better to benefit everyone.’’

Central West Health Chief Executive Jane Hancock said the health service was very proud to have been involved in the development of the new comic book.

“I am also deeply touched at how the students involved in developing the book were so prepared to share their deepest feelings in the hope of building a better future for everyone,’’ she said.

“While some of the things in the ‘Great Debate’ might challenge people who read it, it’s so powerful because it is those kids’ experiences.

“I commend everyone in the Central West to have a look at the book when it is launched and consider the messages and the issues address in it.

“Reconciliation is everyone’s responsibility and it is something we take very seriously in our health service.’’

Mr Carter said the National Reconciliation Week dates of 27 May and 3 June commemorated two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision.

“That’s less than two generations since Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were given equal rights with the rest of Australians and less than a generation since Native Title was recognised,’’ he said.

“That hasn’t been long enough to overcome two centuries of marginalisation, so we still have some way to go, with all of us – Indigenous and non–Indigenous – working together to Close the Gap and to achieve reconciliation and understanding.’’

For more information about National Reconciliation Week, visit:



Image: from left Dan Carter, Executive Director Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, students and talented creatives Olivia Raftos and Karma Kelly, and Barcaldine Regional Councillor Milynda Rogers (Deputy Mayor).

For further information contact:

James Guthrie
Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld
Media and Communication
Department of Health
(07) 3708 5379

Last updated: 8 June 2021