The crew of NUSHIP Supply, with Les Kosez from Eden Aboriginal Land Council, has officially unveiled the main passage way sign inside Navy’s newest ship. This is a lasting symbol of the effort to lead The Royal Australian Navy in Indigenous cultural integration.
With approval from Eden Aboriginal Land Council, NUSHIP Supply installed the ‘Bundian Way’ sign, named after an historic Aboriginal passageway in the ship’s ceremonial homeport of Eden.
Commanding Officer of NUSHIP Supply, Captain Ben Hissink said the instillation is an initiative to create a wholly-inclusive ship culture.
“As a crew, we set out to identify meaningful ways to develop a workplace culture which acknowledges Australia’s early maritime history and diverse multiculturalism, while creating a new, positive future that celebrates individuals and culture.”
“We connected with Eden Aboriginal Land Council, based in our ceremonial homeport, to determine how we could achieve this culture,” Captain Hissink said.
Through establishing a Cultural Advisory Group on board, Supply has enlisted two Aboriginal artists (Alison Simpson and Joe Stewart) from Eden to create their mascot and the ship’s artwork. Members of the ship’s company have also participated in canoe building and engaged with the Woolloomooloo Aboriginal community through community building events.
Able Seaman Jahlaya Weazel from Wakka Wakka and Pitta Pitta Countries said being part of a crew that celebrates her culture and others, has given her and the other Indigenous crew members confidence to be proud Indigenous Australians.
“My culture is about respect and unity. The journey the Supply crew have undertaken to create a similar workplace culture has given me and other Indigenous Australians in the crew, something to be proud of,” Able Seaman Weazel said.
“It has built our confidence immensely and given me opportunities I never thought possible, such as being offered a representative position on the Bundian Way Advisory Committee.”
NUSHIP Supply is putting the finishing touches to the ship – such as installing the Bundian Way sign – in the lead up to her commissioning in April. From commissioning, the crew will be able to actively see the benefits of their integrated culture at sea.