Northern Cemeteries acknowledges the unique status of Australia’s First Peoples as the original people of this land. We recognise their cultures, histories and ongoing relationship and obligations to the land and waterways.
In the spirit of reconciliation, Sandgate Cemetery acknowledges the traditional custodians of this land, the Awabakal People. The spirit of the Awabakal can be found across the region and we honour the memory of their ancestors.
These traditional homelands are ancient and sacred to the Awabakal who have a deep sense of belonging, both traditional and contemporary, because they are part of the world’s oldest surviving, continuous living culture on the planet.
Totem: Black Cockatoo
Totems are a natural object or creature that is believed to have spiritual significance and can be adopted by particular groups as an emblem or symbol.
In the spirit of reconciliation, Northern Cemeteries has embraced the black cockatoo as the totem for Sandgate Cemetery.
They are distinguishable by their characteristic black plumage and distinctive call, and can have either very vivid red or yellow patches on their bodies.
At Sandgate Cemetery we are frequently visited by the black cockatoo with the red feathers and local lore suggests that it can be the indication of rain.
The black cockatoo represents the power of spirit.
It could represent a strengthening of your own spirit or soul, or a celebration of spirits or gods or higher power that people believe in. Black cockatoo energy tends to be celebratory and can bring about empowerment, happiness and contentment.
As a Gurindji, Woolwonga woman from the Northern Territory, now living on Gai-mariagal country, Northern Sydney, it is with great pleasure that I have the opportunity to work in collaboration with Northern Cemeteries to provide advice and guidance, to support them on their journey of truth telling and reconciliation.
Today Northern Cemeteries proudly flies the Aboriginal Flag and acknowledges the Traditional Custodian of the lands that each of their five cemeteries are located. As sovereign people we have always maintain our connection to country, a connection that has always been sacred to us.
As we look to the future we hope that we can look back one day and say that we made a contribution and we have made a difference.
If we truly care for the community in all its diversity, then healing the history of our past, will bring respect, dignity and inclusivity into the present.