On Wednesday 14 July 2021, Aurion come together in person and online to commemorate the Indigenous renaming of the eight meeting rooms areas in our Brisbane HQ in the riverside suburb of Toowong.

The Turrbal Tribe, one of two tribes – along with the Yaggera – who’s traditional lands are in the greater Brisbane region, have chosen to gift to Aurion the use of traditional placenames for our meeting rooms and an explanation of their cultural significance.

Aligning with the 2021 NAIDOC Week theme ‘Heal Country’, which calls for all of us to seek greater protections for our land, water, sacred sites and cultural heritage, we feel the Indigenous names will help link us to the land we work and live on, creating a sense of place and reflecting Aurion’s broader strategy to promote inclusion and cultural safety in our workplaces.

The event began with a Welcome to Country ceremony by Maroochy Barambah, a Turrbal-Gubbi Gubbi songwoman who has had extensive involvement in the Aboriginal community over the last five decades and was the first Aboriginal person to perform on the Australian operatic stage. Maroochy was joined by her adult daughter Baringa, who is following in her mum’s footsteps.

Maroochy Barambah (L) and her daughter Baringa (R)

Guests and speakers include CMG CEO Peter Acheson, CMG Indigenous Strategy Consultant Kyra Galante, and Co-Chair of Reconciliation Queensland, Peter Jackson.

Aurion EGM Kathryn Wilson hosted the renaming ceremony

Aurion’s Executive General Manager Kathryn Wilson hosted the event, and said that, “The renaming ceremony is part of Aurion’s Reconciliation journey and shows our desire to walk alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and in doing so, respectfully engage and strengthen our relationships across the communities we serve.”

Turrbal Welcome to Country
Maroochy described the recent history of the Turrbal people, who are made up of five different clan groups: the area around Toowong being the Daki-Yakka clan area. Maroochy and Baringa told the dreamtime story of Maroochy from the Sunshine Coast, in words, song and dance.

Baringa described the significance of their storytelling: “At the beginning of British colonisation in the 1820s, the Turrbul Tribe was numbered in the thousands. Just forty years later then tribe was at near extinction with five individuals. Today there are about 50 of us.”

“When we do things such as a Welcome to Country, we deliver it as a blessing of the gathering, in song,” said Baringa. “In traditional times, you’d ask for permission from the elders or be invited. It’s a spiritual ceremony in which we’re calling upon a divine being, along with our ancestors, to fill the space with positive energy.”

Peter Jackson from Reconciliation Queensland thanked Maroochy and Baringa and the work they’re doing toward Reconciliation.

Peter Jackson from Reconciliation Queensland

“We need to tell the truth about the colonisation of this country,” said Peter. “Without truth there cannot be Reconciliation. We need to understand the history and what has happened to our First Nations peoples.”

Peter told the gathering, “Each time you go into one of these rooms, it’s a trigger for you all to acknowledge the work that we all need to continue doing to work toward reconciliation in this country. Because you’re not just naming a room, you’re talking about First Nations country.”

Creating a Sense of Place
At the renaming ceremony the Aurion Reconciliation Action Plan working group described the significance of the eight meeting room names in the context of the way we work, who we are and what we stand for as a company, replacing the earlier meeting room names taken from capital cities in Europe and Asia.

Cara Haslop, Aurion GM of People & Culture and Aurion RAP group member describes some of the new meeting room names and their meaning.

Pullan Pullanbah – ‘fighting ground’: This is the area now the Roma Street Parkland and was often the traditional fighting ground for the Turrbal People. This meeting room is where we come together to work through challenges both within our team and with our customers.

Indooroopilly – ‘gully of the leeches’: Leeches were commonly used for traditional healing, and this meeting room is where we demonstrate our solutions, and let go of prejudices and preconceptions, as we do with leeches to see them as something beneficial.

Barambin – ‘campground’: The area today known as ‘Victoria Park’, it was the Turrbal people’s main campground, and is the name of our place to share, learn and celebrate together.

Kurilpa – ‘place of the marsupial rat’: Known as West End, South Brisbane and Southbank today, it was a traditional crossing place for the Brisbane River. This is the first meeting room on entry to Aurion’s Brisbane office and hosts many challenges and obstacles, but also allows our people to forge connections.

Woollooncappen – ‘whirling waters’: Whenever Norman Creek would flood, the water would whirl around on its way to the Brisbane River, and is the name of our place to create and channel our imagination.

Binkenba – ‘place of the turtle or land tortoise’: The traditional name for Pinkenba and New Farm, it was a popular place for catching turtles and fish, which relates to a place where our teams come together to share resources and ideas.

Yeerongpilly – ‘rainy gully’: Rain symbolises renewal, fertility and new life, and this meeting rooms is where we navigate opportunities brought about by change.

Kuta – ‘place of the honeybee’: This is the place of cultural responsibility for those with the honeybee totem. At Aurion, we respect our past whilst embracing our future. In this meeting room we can celebrate our diversity while working toward common goals.

Strengthening community relationships
Aurion EGM Kathryn Wilson described the significance of the Indigenous renaming to the company. “At Aurion our purpose is to make life work better,” she said, “and the RAP is a solid platform for us to work in step with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Make life work better becomes real when opportunities, education, employment and equality have no divisions or boundaries and we act and live as one. To me, Reconciliation is a continuous journey for us all, and an ongoing commitment in seeking to learn to understand and to improve our knowledge of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

The collective feeling from the room was excitement and inspiration. Soon after the event, Baringa let us know that, “My mum and I left your office on such a high from the amazing energy from everyone. It was truly such a delight to work with Aurion. A massive thank you RAP team for making this all possible. We are so grateful for the genuine interest in our culture!”

Find out more about Aurion’s commitment to Reconciliation, see our blogs: Aurion Hosts Indigenous Entrepreneur For NAIDOC Week and Why Cultural Diversity Is Good For Business.

We would like to acknowledge and pay our respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, past, present and emerging, whose land we stand upon today.