Plans for a special event on Yass River on January 25

Joshur Bell, Aaron Chatfield and Scott Bell on the Yass riverbank at dawn on January 25 last year. Photo: Tyahn Bell
Joshur Bell, Aaron Chatfield and Scott Bell on the Yass riverbank at dawn on January 25 last year. Photo: Tyahn Bell

In what a proud Ngunnawal man compares to a "moment of silence" ahead of Australia Day, an event will be held at sunrise on the Yass riverfront on Monday, January 25, to remember the past and look to the future.

Baraay Bambar Gulbir - Joshur Bell, from the Gnunnawal and Gamilaroi Nation, said the plans have sprung out of a family gathering that they want to throw open to the community.

"Over last two years we have had something with our family on the day before Australia Day," said Mr Bell.

"It's to remember that last day of harmony and freedom, before everything changed for our people after first contact.

"We have moments of silence at events, and acknowledge our fallen, and that's what this is.

"We would love to invite everyone - the whole town, the whole region."

Mr Bell said he hoped it would be a chance for people to share their stories and make connections.

"There's no ill feeling or anger," he said.

"We just want the past to be acknowledged and the truth to come out.

"We want to make it public because education is vital - that's how we become free."

The event will kick off at about 5.45am (near the toilet blocks on the riverfront) with a special ceremony, and will be followed by a casual fishing competition.

Boys taking b=part in the waterfront event last January.

Boys taking b=part in the waterfront event last January.

A COVID-19 QR code has been created for the morning and masks are recommended.

"When you include Aboriginal history, you celebrate 100,000 years instead of 230 - there's a lot to gain!" said Mr Bell.

"We have a lot of hope for the beautiful days upon us."

He said the riverfront location had been chosen because of the central place the river takes in the community.

Joshur Bell says the location of the event was chosen to honour the Yass River.

Joshur Bell says the location of the event was chosen to honour the Yass River.

"It's something that sustained our family and community for generations, so we want to honour the water, the connection to country - we still acknowledge every single day that we're just blessed to be from Yass," he said.

Mr Bell has also suggested that he'd like to see the Yass Valley Council lower both the Australian and Aboriginal flags on January 25, and raise them again together on January 26.

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This story You're invited to a "moment of silence" ahead of Australia Day first appeared on Goulburn Post.