Mardi Naulty, Canberra Regional Meeting
A smoking ceremony was recently held to remember Waratah Rosemary Gillespie and to launch Waratah’s Peace Garden at Silver Wattle Quaker Centre, Bungendore.
Rosemary, who later took on the additional name Waratah, died in 2010 after a life of activism in the law, human rights and social justice. She never let controversy stop her from doing what she saw as right for humanity.
In 2003 she went to Iraq as a “Human Shield” where she videoed the stories of ordinary Iraqi citizens and sent information home to Australia and the world. Her first book was The Invasion of Iraq, an Eyewitness Account. A founder of the Bougainville Freedom Movement, in 2009 she wrote about the struggle of indigenous people of Bougainville against a mine which was destroying their environment and defied a blockade numerous times to take medicines to the people. Waratah was passionately committed to the well-being of the First Peoples of Australia, and used her writing skills to campaign for their dignity and rights.
Waratah joined Canberra Meeting in 1999 and was active in the Society writing and speaking in the fields of peace, justice and Aboriginal concerns. A simple bush garden at Silver Wattle, Waratah’s Peace Garden has been created as a quiet place for reflection and to remember Waratah and her life’s work.