Rachael puts her stamp on historic event

Designing a stamp to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum and 25 years since the Mabo decision turned out to be so much more than Karalee’s Rachael Sarra expected.

Karalee resident and former Ipswich Girls’ Grammar student Rachael Sarra is a graphic designer/artist with Gilimbaa creative agency.

Australia Post approached Gilimbaa and wanted a stamp for the 1967 Referendum, to work in with the Mabo decision as well. We did a few concepts here at Gilimbaa and went back to Australia Post, and they fell in love with this one because it is really simple, but powerful.

“The 1967 referendum was a powerful moment in history because it was a majority vote for yes to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the census. Previous to that, Aboriginal and Torres Strait people were considered flora and fauna, which is quite sad considering my dad was born in 1960, so for seven years he was considered flora and fauna. This is really about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people getting their identity as a human being, rightfully so.

“(The design is) a fingerprint. The dotted lines represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the solid line represents the wider community. They are overlapping to create this equal identity. Orange – not this specific orange – was used in some of the original campaign collateral. I have a background in colour psychology through design. Orange is quite an optimistic and engaging colour, and I wanted that message to pop as well.

“I was excited to get this project because it was such a significant event. It wasn’t really until I went to Canberra to launch this and I was in the room with some of the original campaigners, and just the energy – I can’t even explain the feeling – it was so powerful and it really put things into perspective, how different people my age could be if that significant moment never happened. The emotions in the room with those people, they were so proud and grateful, but there was also a message of while this was a great achievement, there is so much more to achieve with equality and reconciliation.

“It (1967) was one of the most successful referendums in history. I guess it proves that Australians are capable of coming together and doing good, even though it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. It’s moments like these that give me confidence to go out in the world and advocate and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.”


of Australians voted Yes in the 1967 referendum

Historic momentS

A 50c commemorative coin was also released, featuring a portrait of Eddie Mabo created by his granddaughter Boneta-Marie Mabo.

The postmark is an original 1967 campaign slogan, “count us together make us one people”.

Gilimbaa creative agency is working with Queensland Museum and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies to record and commemorate the stamp for the future.

Know of anyone with extraordinary talent? Let us know via [email protected]. In the meantime, be sure you don’t miss any of our stories about local people.

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