Acland flag washing symbolises Aussie spirit

AS THE thunder rumbled above the ghost town of Acland yesterday, a group united to wash the Australian flag.

St Luke's Anglican Church Reverend Dr Jonathan Inkpin led the ceremony in the Tom Doherty Park, a place chosen for its symbolic relevance.

It seemed fitting the flag used in the ceremony was the one Acland resident Glen Beutel continues to raise as his town falls into disrepair around him.

"The Tom Doherty Park in Acland signifies how a small group of ordinary Australians can create the extraordinary. This park, built and maintained largely by volunteers over decades, has come to symbolise what is best in Australia and what we risk losing," Dr Inkpin said.

Dr Inkpin was approached by a group who heard about a similar event in Western Australia last year.

"The one in Perth was specifically in their case raising issues connected to refugees," he said.

"In our case, it's more we felt with all the kinds of troubles around in the world, including the Sydney Siege. On Australia Day, we celebrate all the good things, but it also raises a whole lot of issues about who we are.

"The Australian flag is a powerful symbol. It has the strength to unite."

"As it happens with the fire attack on the mosque it seemed particularly appropriate," he said.

"That was just out of order with where Toowoomba is and where we are moving as a community."

The prayerful and peaceful ceremony was attended by members of the Silence for Peace Meditation group in Toowoomba, indigenous elder Darby McCarthy, executive officer for the Social Justice Commission Mark Copland and other representatives of the region.

Topics:  acland australia day australian flag community religion toowoomba

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