Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Shoulder to Shoulder

Thursday was our final day of what has been an epic journey from Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo two weeks ago!

Our final day was just brilliant starting with a morning ceremony at sunrise with Les McLeod. The young people were delighted to be joined by AFL legends Adam Goodes and Michael O'Loughlin on the cultural tour that followed. We visited a number of significant cultural sites around the harbour before hoping off at the Taronga Zoo wharf.

As we walked up the hill to the zoo’s entrance we were welcomed by staff, family and friends who lined the street and clapped us along our final steps.

A message stick engraved with the Shoulder to Shoulder design (featured on our T-shirts symbolising the journey we have travelled) was presented to Taronga Director & Chief Executive Cameron Kerr as a gift to cement the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people for the next 100 years.

Overall this experience has been wonderful and I’ve really taken from the whole experience how wonderful and generous people are when they are working together to achieve a goal. I really hope the young people got a sense of the strength and achievement from the journey, and that they are closer to their culture and have a stronger connection with country as a result. They are all wonderful young people and I hope they feel happy and strong from now on, and can move through life knowing they have made this amazing achievement.

We would like to thank all the supporters of Shoulder to Shoulder including Bunnings Warehouse, Berkel Constructions, Australia Hammer Supplies, Midcity Windows, Rebel, ARA and Ritera Electrical. A journey like this one just wouldn’t have been possible without their generous support, so thank you.

One last shout out to all the staff from both Taronga and the Department of Family and Community Services, who have helped in some way shape or form to ensure these young people have had an experience they will cherish for the rest of their lives.

By Nardi Simpson, Shoulder to Shoulder walker

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