My name is Charles Madden, known around the inner city of Sydney as Chicka. I’m from Gadigal land, Aboriginal land.
I’d like to take this opportunity to extend a warm and sincere welcome to all my Aboriginal brothers and sisters—welcome to Gadigal land, Aboriginal land. I’d also like to welcome all our Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters—welcome to Gadigal land, Aboriginal land. And I’d like to welcome all our non-Aboriginal brothers and sisters—welcome to Gadigal land, Aboriginal land.
The Gadigal clan is one of twenty-nine clans that make up the Eora nation. The Eora nation is bounded by nature’s own: the Hawkesbury River to the north, the Nepean to the west, and the Georges River to the south.
I’ve lived in and around Redfern and the inner-city suburbs of Sydney my whole life and raised my family here. As children my sisters and I went to Redfern Public School, which is now NCIE, the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence. I was just starting school there when the Second World War ended and I remember that day very well. For many, many years I’ve served my community here by being involved in different Aboriginal organisations in and around the inner city. When the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service moved from the shop they had on Regent Street to the Catholic church on Redfern Street, I was elected onto the board and served for about forty-two years. While working on the railways, I was a board member of Aboriginal Hostels Australia for six years. I’ve been actively involved with the Aboriginal Housing Company and the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, both in Redfern. I’m still a member of the land council. All of these services started here in Redfern and can now be found right around Australia.
The Redfern All Blacks football team are the pride of our community and bring us all together. I was very involved as treasurer for the Redfern All Blacks Rugby League Football Club for about twenty years. My young grandson now plays for the Redfern All Blacks.
Sydney has always been a meeting place for Aboriginal people and today it is home to the largest community of Aboriginal people in Australia.
This is Aboriginal land—always was, always will be. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome.