MURRAY Harrison says just one word when he looks over a vacant patch of land that will soon become a sacred Aboriginal resting place - “magical”.
The respected indigenous elder, who has lived in Ballarat almost his entire life, feels a mixture of pride and comfort when hearing of plans for the ‘Dreamtime’ Aboriginal Cemetery Project.
He says plans to set aside a section of the Ballarat Cemetery for a devoted Aboriginal space is another major step forward in reconciliation.
Mr Harrison, a member of the Stolen Generation, said the contribution by indigenous people to Ballarat’s past was often overlooked and the new project would also play a key role in educating people about the rich indigenous history.
But, more importantly, it would give future generations a chance to visit the resting places of their ancestors.
Now 74-years-old, Mr Harrison has four children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.
“It’s an honour to think that in the future, my family will know where I am and where I have been laid down,” he said.
“My spirit will live on, but for a place like this to exist is just fantastic.”
A long-time campaigner for Aboriginal rights, Mr Harrison said now was the perfect time for such a memorial to be created.
“You can’t change what has been done, you can only change what is happening now and will happen in the future,” he said.
“They didn’t rush it. It’s important to do it and do it right and it will be great when it happens.
“We are one people and this another step towards showing that.”