Castlemaine Vigil in Recognition of Aboriginal Sovereignty and in Solidarity with Refugees acknowledges that the Jaara Jaara people are the owners and custodians of the land we live in, and sit in vigil on.

We recognise Aboriginal Sovereignty – that the countries of this continent have never been ceded by their First Peoples, thus Sovereignty and authority remains with the First Nations peoples.

We remember that Aboriginal people in Australia continue to experience the effects of ongoing colonisation and genocide – including high levels of incarceration, denial of human rights and stolen lands.

We commit to consultation with Jaara people in relation to actions we may take, and to standing in solidarity with the First Nations People of this land and in solidarity with refugees fleeing to Australia.

Who and What:

The Castlemaine Vigil in Recognition of Aboriginal Sovereignty and in Solidarity with Refugees is co-ordinated by Janet Galbraith, a resident on Jaara country – Castlemaine.

The vigil is committed to the human rights of all.

There are a number of documents we refer to that direct our action. These are:

– A CRUEL AND CRASS ACT OF COLONIALISM : AN OPEN LETTER TO KEVIN RUDD. MP. by Uncle Ray Jackson of Indigenous Social Justice Association

–  Out of the Scar: Diaspora and the Cultural Politics of Reconciliation: Professor Suvendrini Perera

– A Gungalidda grassroots perspective on refugees and the recent events in the US Wadjularbinna Gungalidda Elder

– Fernandez Ramesh RISE

The vigil recognises the suffering and horrors that the First Nations peoples of Australia have endured and continue to struggle against.

The vigil demonstrates solidarity with refugees – with those seeking asylum.

We meet at the Castlemaine Market Building Steps from 5pm – 6.30pm each week night to sit in vigil – remembering those suffering and bearing witness.

5pm – 6pm is a time for exchange, learning and conversation.

6pm -6.30pm is a time for quiet contemplation – remembering the people we are here for. It is a time to focus on those who are suffering; a time for growling compassion. It is a time for sending love.

From 5pm – 6.30pm there is a petition available for anyone to drop in and sign and information of other actions you can take.

What is the PURPOSE?

The purpose of Castlemaine Vigil is to publically bear witness to the effects of the current Australian Government’s policies that cause profound harm to Aboriginal Peoples and people who have become refugees.  At a time when information to the Australian public is being severely limited and censored; when state secrets are the norm; and when silencing is increasingly practiced, and ‘out of sight out of mind’ are at the core of policies, visibility is essential.

– We bear witness to the continued effects of ongoing colonisation and genocide upon Indigenous peoples of this continent – including high levels of incarceration, denial of human rights and stolen lands.
– We bear witness to the deaths, suffering and torture in Gaols, ‘Detention Centres’ and oceans – a result of policies and practices based in the ‘normalisation’ of white supremacism.
– We seek to demonstrate care, compassion and courage within a climate of dehumanization and demonization.
– We seek to affirm our own humanity as we join with others throughout Australia to say ‘NOT IN OUR NAME’.
– We offer alternative information to the lies and rumours currently circulated by main stream media and politicians.
– We seek to grow compassion and love, recognising these as an essential antidote to fear and cynicism.
– We provide an opportunity for the wider public to join in our efforts and take action by signing our petitions, educating each other, reading our writings and supporting wider actions to stop the exploitation and harming of Aboriginal peoples, asylum seekers and refugees.

Why a VIGIL?

The word VIGIL can be defined as ‘watchful attention’. Watchful attention has power. It brings attention, shines a light on that which people in power would like to deny, forget or dis-remember. It allows us to bear witness.

To bear witness involves listening deeply, watching with care, giving another human being absolute and total recognition. It involves remembering, and giving testimony to the suffering of others.

A vigil allows us to step outside of the whirlpool of for-and-against political rhetoric that distances us from the humanity of each other and instead brings our attention to the person behind the numbers, the person behind the dehumanizing images and language. It allows us to place those who are being brutalised at the centre.

Finally, a vigil provides for the sustained action needed for what is, and will be, a long haul.

Janet Galbraith says: I sit in love, attention, imagination and intelligence because this is what I have to share – not to preach, not to try to convert. Nobody need receive it but I need to demonstrate it. It comes from me sincerely and with feeling. This is not a burden – infact it is nourishing. Like a creative act that then grows more creative acts, sitting quietly in vigil – publicly stating my recognition of Aboriginal Sovereignty and my Solidarity with Refugees – is what I have to offer this world, at this time. It adds to the ‘Not In My Name’ movement that is steadily growing, and, I believe, it promotes love in often unknown ways. In this climate of hate and brutality, to love is a political act. It is simply all I am able to give.


The Castlemaine Vigil recognises that this is only one form of action amongst the many and varied actions that are needed to work toward change. We wholeheartedly acknowledge the many others who also fight for justice, freedom, love and the humanity of all.


I would like to recognise the support of Despina Kiriakidis, Narelle Thomason and Rob, Suvendrini Perera, Helen Seligman, Gabrielle Batson, Marg Peck, Thea Kingett, Elizabeth Scanlon, Ricky Singh, Jake Argyll, The Food Garden, and Castlemaine Theatre Royal.

These individuals and organisations have offered various forms of support, each of them very valuable.


Janet Galbraith at email: castlemainevigil@gmail.com.au


2 thoughts on “About

  1. Thank you for the information you share. It takes a great deal of selflessness to dedicate your time to raising awareness of the kind of policies that affect the most vulnerable.

    May I ask which country is Jaara Jaara country? I am blogging from Noonga country (Perth, Western Australia).

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