Handy hellos

THE well-known symbol of reconciliation Sea of Hands has found a new digital purpose that could help bridge cultures.

John McBain, chair of the WA branch of the Aboriginal social justice organisation ANTaR, said they’d created a digital database of all the letters of the alphabet using the hands, and were now putting them together to create the word “hello” in many different indigenous languages.

“When we visit another country, learning how to say hello is a basic part of wanting to engage with the people,” Mr McBain said.

• Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt with well-known jazz singer Lois Olney and ANTaRWA chair John McBain.


“In Oz, all First Nations peoples can say hello in English.

“However, few Aussies can say hello in the original language where they live, work of visit.

“On Noongar country their word is kaya.”

When completed the words will be able to be screened onto sporting grounds and buildings, and Mr McBain said the final part of the project will see them turned into a typeable font.

ANTaRWA will be launching the Hello initiative at Clancy’s pub in Fremantle on Thursday, October 26.

The organisation is also expanding its Sustainable Urban Nutrition program, where members donate part of the produce from their veggie gardens to St Pats in Freo.

Mr McBain says it’s a great sustainability project.

“Our worm farm gardens grow food at the same time as they convert green waste into worm castings,” he says.

He says they’re looking to have pilot patches at the Hilton Mens Shed and Murdoch Uni. They’re also planning to expand the project throughout Perth and into the eastern states.

The last initiative they’ll be launching at Clancy’s is a youth media organisation to provide mentoring and work experience for young indigenous people in order to help them portray their culture.

Well-known Fremantle jazz singer Lois Olney is on the committee, and will be performing at the launch, as well as Wongutha elder Aunty Josie Boyle and lead singer of Yabu Band, Delson Stokes.

Leave a Reply