A touch of reconciliation

Queanbeyan Police officers Troy Bartlett and Kevin Shepherd and a team of local police officers will go head-to-head against Malcolm Towney (centre) and the indigenous community team 'All but one' in next week's Community Challenge Reconciliation Cup touch football match at Karabar High School 
Photo: Joshua Matic.

Queanbeyan Police officers Troy Bartlett and Kevin Shepherd and a team of local police officers will go head-to-head against Malcolm Towney (centre) and the indigenous community team 'All but one' in next week's Community Challenge Reconciliation Cup touch football match at Karabar High School Photo: Joshua Matic.

QUEANBEYAN will next week celebrate the rich indigenous culture of the region with the annual Reconciliation Walk to be held on Tuesday and a Reconciliation Cup touch football match on Thursday.

The events cap the city's commitment to National Reconciliation Week, with the walk from Ray Morton Park to Reconciliation Garden to be led by community elders and councillors, starting at 10.30am (marchers to meet at 10.15am).

And while they may have been historically seen as an authoritarian figure within the indigenous community, Queanbeyan Police and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members will be totally level when they take on each other in the Community Challenge Reconciliation Cup at Karabar High School next Thursday.

As the name suggests, the event is all about reconciliation for Queanbeyan's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Sport is often seen to be a true leveller in society, and according to Queanbeyan City Council Community development officer for Aboriginal projects, Mr Malcom Towney, the concept will go a long way to improving negative relationships.

"It's about seeing police in a different light, and police having an engagement with the community on an informal level," said Mr Towney.

"It's also a good time to ask the police questions about what they do, not only just with stereotyped police work in general.

"Sport is a great leveller, especially with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We don't see black and white, we just go out there and play on an equal basis," he said.

The Indigenous Community side has called themselves 'All but One' as Lindbeck Butchery owner Peter Lindbeck will turn out for the side as their only non-indigenous player- in the name of reconciliation.

The four-team touch football tournament will also feature the more fancied teams from Karabar High School and Queanbeyan High School in the four game event.

Round one of the day will see the Police take on hosts Karabar and All but One play Queanbeyan High, while round two will see the losers of each contest play for the Community Challenge Reconciliation Cup.

The winners of round one will play for the Reconciliation Cup.

Local indigenous representative Esma Livermore created the concept which was first run in 2010, and with Queanbeyan Police securing a grant from the state government this year, it has been able to return. Inspector Anthony Hill will lead the Police team, while Towney and Livermore will co-captain All but One.

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