Charles Sturt University
Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

Decade of lectures honouring Pastor Cec Grant come to an end

18 May 2017

After 10 years of celebrating the life of indigenous minister Pastor Cec Grant OAM (Wongamarr/Wungamaa), the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (ACC&C) hosted the final Lecture on March 24, 2017.

The annual lectures in honour of Pastor Cec Grant and his wife Laurel began in 2008 and have been organised by The Wiradjuri Council of Elders, Charles Sturt University and The Wiradjuri Christian Development Ministries (WCDM).  

Wungamaa was born in Condobolin and died in Albury in 2005, aged 71. He was a pioneer of the Welcome to Wiradjuri Country signs and led the way to revive Wiradjuri language programs.

Previous CSU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and previous chair of the ACC&C board Professor Ross Chambers said the annual lecture was established to honour Cec Grant's Christian faith and his commitment to the Wiradjuri community and culture. 

"Cec Grant was a very important contact point between the university and Wiradjuri community. He was someone who helped the university think through the role it should play in indigenous education, think through and try to understand how to do that in a culturally appropriate way, think through issues to do with how the way the university was run and dealt with indigenous communities," he said.

"He had an enormous impact and on top of that he was a great leader in his community and Christian Church," he said.

The final lecture was delivered by Flo Grant, Cec Grant's sister, who has been a key organiser of the lectures over the past 10 years. She spoke on 'Women in Ministry and Community'.

Flo's presentation was followed by a talk by former Rugby League star and now University of Sydney PhD candidate Percy Knight who spoke on the Grant family and his research into creating indigenous pedagogy.

The ACC&C has hosted 7 of the last 10 lectures on site with the other 3 lectures being held in regional NSW. 

The ACC&C Executive Director Rt Rev'd Professor Stephen Pickard said it had been a privilege to host the lectures given the long standing commitment of the Centre to reconciliation and support for the indigenous peoples of Australia.

Professor Chambers and Flo Grant intend to write a book about the lectures and history behind it.

"In the last 10 years we have recorded the history of the more independent indigenous churches – the churches that weren't linked to European denominations. The churches in which Cec and Bob [Brown] and others were great leaders," he said.

The final lecture was attended by CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andy Van, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Toni Downes and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Development and Industry) Professor Mary Kelly.

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History of Wongamarr/Wungamaa Lectures

·      2017 'Women in Ministry and Community' by Flo Grant and Percy Knight

·      2016 'Celebrating 50 years of the Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship (AEF) by Pastor Neville Lilley

·      2015 'Remembering our Aboriginal Soldiers' who fought in all Wars for Australia by Chaplain Ivan Grant (Staff Chaplain Army Headquarters)

·      2014 'Indigenous nations, universities and faith and culture: the work of Pastor Cec Grant OAM, Wongamar, in higher education' by Emeritus Professor Ross Chambers and Ms Debra Evans

·      2013* on Pastor Cec Grant, Wongamarr, and Laurel's work in the local region where they spent over 30 years. Lecture by Bob Wybrow and other members of the Aboriginal Church Albury NSW and Robyn Heckenburg, Graduate of CSU and lecturer at Monash University.

·      2012 on 'The Family Man' by Maria Williams who is the daughter of Pastor Cec and Laurel.

·      2011** on Cec Grant's ministry in Wellington, NSW by Bob Brown

·      2010 'People behind the Man and Pastor' by Edna Stewart, Darren Wighton, Jean Phillips, Ossie Cruse and Avon Moyle.

·      2009* by Yalmambirra, a lecturer in CSU's School of Environmental Science

·      2008 inaugural lecture by Rev Ray Minniecon 

*Lecture held in Albury, NSW

** Lecture held in Wellington, NSW