In keeping with the 2014 theme of 'Serving Country: Centenary and Beyond', the City of Shoalhaven commenced NAIDOC Week celebrations with a Remembrance March.
Following a service at the Nowra War Memorial, representatives of local Indigenous organisations, veterans groups, NSW Police and Defence marched behind the NAIDOC banner and a jeep bearing ninety year old Korean veteran and respected elder Steve Dodd.
Cheered by onlookers, the march wound through the streets of Nowra to Harry Sawkins Park for the official opening ceremony and flag raising.
Petty Officer Mathew Goward of HMAS Albatross was a proud participant.
“My great grandfather served in the Light Horsemen, so he was in my thoughts for many reasons, but particularly as this year's NAIDOC Week is dedicated to men like him.
“I also felt very proud marching in my uniform with the people from Nowra and other Defence personnel and hearing the clapping as we went by.
“I believe that more people are showing respect and slowly closing the gap, and NAIDOC Week is a great opportunity to recognise Indigenous people all across Australia for their achievements," Petty Officer Goward said.
At the conclusion of the ceremony Albatross's Commanding Officer, Captain Simon Bateman, laid a wreath in honour of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have fought in defence of our country.
Captain Bateman said while NAIDOC week always provided an important opportunity for celebration and reflection on the history, the culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the 2014 theme of 'Serving Country—Centenary and Beyond' was especially significant for Defence personnel.
“It was important to me to demonstrate my respect and gratitude to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have served our country and to also acknowledge the contributions of those Indigenous Australians who continue their legacy," Captain Bateman said.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20142017.