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Geraldton Regional Art Gallery celebrates 50th anniversary of the Banksia Ball with umbrella of history

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Lester Abdullah, Jill Abdullah, Paul Calvin, David Smith, 14, Tessa Smith 11, Tiffany Calvin and Marika Calvin.
Camera IconLester Abdullah, Jill Abdullah, Paul Calvin, David Smith, 14, Tessa Smith 11, Tiffany Calvin and Marika Calvin. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

An umbrella of history surrounding the old Town Hall was unveiled on Friday, including photos and memorabilia from the 1967 referendum, showcasing the 50th anniversary of the Banksia Ball.

Last week an art exhibition at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery celebrated 75 years of history of the old town hall with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Banksia Ball with an exhibition.

The former town hall was covered with historical images of events captured throughout the years, with many donated by the Abdullah family.

The exhibition featured memories of the 1972 Banksia Ball in Geraldton, an important moment in Indigenous history and a turning point in the rights struggle.

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Jill Abdullah said the art exhibition wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for her family, including her father and Indigenous rights activist George Abdullah. Ms Abdullah said she studied creative arts, and used her family’s collection of material to write a biography of her father.

Sue Graham, Jackie Shephard and Judy Rose.
Camera IconSue Graham, Jackie Shephard and Judy Rose. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

“I’ve also found other ways to tell the story of dad, who he worked with and who were involved in the moving change to social, economic and emotional impacts of earlier times, which has enabled the many benefits we enjoy today,” she said.

Ms Abdullah said the Banksia Ball was one way her father could bring together differences and create harmony in the community.

“Dad was passionate, committed, charismatic and energetic, which enabled him to do the things that he loved. He was responsible for many things such as bringing the Aboriginal community together with the non-Aboriginal community. This joint approach has enabled Aboriginal people’s aspirations for the future,” she said.

Geraldton City Band performs at the Banksia Ball..
Camera IconGeraldton City Band performs at the Banksia Ball.. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

The exhibition included historical newspaper articles, history of World War I and II and other historical pieces to reflect a time capsule that celebrates 150 years of Geraldton’s local government. The Banksia Ball 50th anniversary exhibition was part of the Big Sky Readers and Writers Festival 2022.

Cickolas and Evelyn Geronimos.
Camera IconCickolas and Evelyn Geronimos. Credit: Jessica Moroney/Geraldton Guardian

The exhibition is running at Geraldton Regional Art Gallery until November 20.

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