Claire talks recognition at AIMSC Trade Show

It was a vision in the early hours of Tuesday, as business after business set up their stall in the warmly-lit Hilton in central Sydney for the AIMSC Connect 2012 Trade Show and Gala Dinner. You could have mistaken it for any other trade show—dozens of businesses gathered to display their products and services…but then the differences became apparent.

As I stuck this year’s National Reconciliation Week poster featuring a couple of brilliant Aussie chefs to the walls of the Reconciliation Australia stand, one of the stars of the piece himself came up and requested a few wall hangings for his own domain. Yes the ‘Black Olive’, the master of the most creative Aussie spice collection wanted some NRW posters. Brilliant. 

I look up to a quick flash and there is photographer, Wayne Quilliam, snapping me in action. Always cheeky, always a perfect shot, I was in safe hands.

The sound of ‘hey Uncle, do you want a hand?’ rang about the halls as a great line of blossoming businesses propped up their products. Robin Bryant, director of JD merchandise and Ulmurra pies knows the beauty of diversification, and chatted to me about the changes he had made to his community following his time serving in Vietnam.

Malan Dimopoulos wooed the crowds with his Native Oz Cuisine chips that are now selling from supermarkets to Qantas flights!

The whirring noise of pitching power oozed throughout the show. Within 10 steps I wandered past catering, cleaning, printing, design and consulting businesses.

By night at the AIMSC Gala Dinner we heard from billionaire businesswoman Janice Bryan Howroyd, chief executive officer of ACT-1 Group, the largest employment agency owned by a minority woman in the US. Janice’s words of advice resonated to the very bones of Town Hall….

“Never compromise what you are personally for what you wish to become professionally”

What an inspiring statement and one that really connected with the theme of the event…the support and friendship between business partners and competitors was clearly evident and as a result the day beamed of professionalism and passion.

AIMSC recognises the impact these Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses might have, and can have, thanks to the relationships that are in motion between the corporate and supplier world.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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