With the First Peoples of Australia at Kamay Botany Bay

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We are delighted to introduce plans to hold A National Act of Recognition with the First Peoples of Australia and Torres Strait, at Kamay Botany Bay.

This jointly developed initiative is often known as Truth Telling – The Recognition Way.

Formed in 1997, this is an Australia wide people’s movement. Since that time this movement has been building from the bottom up, rather than being imposed from the top down.

Our Recognition leadership and management team is made up of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal and Islander people.

Together with the Kamay Botany Bay Aboriginal Community and many other people across Australia, we have been working toward this goal since its beginnings all those years ago.

Founded in 1997, A National Act of Recognition is a grassroots people’s movement developed by First Nations and later Australians working together. The purpose has been to bring Truth Telling into our national conversation. This movement has no connection to the Voice to Parliament or Constitutional Recognition movements.

Co-chairs of the Recognition National Leadership Team, Elder Ossie Cruse MBE AM and Lindsay McDowell launched this invitation, saying it is an important opportunity for healing by jointly speaking truth in unity after such a difficult national referendum debate.

This initiative also has the support of local Elders and Land Council:

“We believe that the Australian people taking this step can get to the root of the problems Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have faced for generations, and begin to address those problems in a way that has not happened before,” the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council stated in a formal letter of support.

What Elder Ossie Cruse says…

Individual Image of Elder Ossie Cruse

This Truth Telling is the culmination of 26 years of consultation with First Nations people where they live – on Country. Our Recognition Teams have sat down with over 100 urban, regional and remote communities – in the wind and the rain and the dust and the mud – to ask what it is that is truly important to them.

Their overwhelming response was that they want to see public recognition Australia wide of our true history since colonisation began. The majority strongly asserted that genuine ‘Truth Telling’ is of the highest priority when addressing our colonising history.

No matter what the result of the Voice to Parliament referendum, we need a way to come together as a people – to take ownership of the past and, in doing so, be set free to look to the future.




This Truth Telling – The Recognition Way initiative is culminating in gatherings at key locations in Australia. An Inaugural Gathering was held on Saturday 29th October 2022 near the Lieutenant James Cook 1770 landing site of first encounter at Kamay Botany Bay. It was attended by 87 people from around Australia.

We propose to have more gatherings where people can examine the public records, hear about our early history to better understand the truth and what happened.

Our next public gathering is scheduled for Saturday 2 March 2024.

The Next Gathering

Meet our teams

Our Recognition National Leadership Team:

  • Elder and Pastor Ossie Cruse MBE  AM – Co-chair, Eden NSW
  • Mr. Tom Hallas, Canberra, ACT
  • Elder Rodney Rivers, Perth, WA
  • Reverend Lindsay McDowell – Co-chair, Canberra, ACT

These are supported by our Management Teams, together with many advisors, participants and contributors Australia wide.  Over the years these have numbered in the hundreds.  We acknowledge them all with gratitude.

Southern Cross Ministries Australia Incorporated – Members:

  • Reverend Lindsay McDowell, Canberra, ACT
  • Mrs. Anne McDowell, Canberra, ACT
  • Mr. William Reeves, Sydney, ACT
  • Reverend Mark Beresford, Canberra, ACT
  • Mr. Brendan Johnston, Canberra, ACT

Southern Cross Ministries Australia Incorporated is an Interdenominational Christian Ministry first established in its original form in 1997 by Reverend Lindsay McDowell.

Want to work with our team?

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Act of Recognition