About The Event

This website has been created as an online archive for an event held on the Mornington Peninsula on October 27th, 2001 – the inaugural Mornington Peninsula Peace Vigil at “Seawinds Gardens”, Arthurs Seat, Victoria – an evening of shared thoughts and reflection that focused on the peace process and the acknowledgement and celebration of Australia’s cultural diversity.

The Peace Vigil was a non-denominational and non-political event, with no affiliation with any religious, government or political organization. It was a non-violent, family-orientated event, designed to give people a quiet moment in turbulent times.

Organized by local actor, Sally McLean and teacher, Christine Nagorcka, the Vigil successfully created a safe and non-violent space for their community to take some time to express a desire for peace, both locally and globally.

The event followed a simple format around Thoughts for Peace, and finished with the lighting of candles for peace at sunset. The Walking the Pathways to Peace logo, was re-created by Indigenous artist, Rondon, from his original artwork, as a two metre wide centerpiece for the Vigil, and the focus for the candle-lighting part of the ceremony.

Special guests for the evening were American-born Australian artist, Fullbright Fellow and recepient of the Prime Minister’s Violence Prevention Award, William Kelly OAM. In addition to his own thoughts, William relayed a message, specially written for those attending the Vigil from Dr. Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson and co-founder of The MK Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence.  Both William and Dr Gandhi also acted as Patrons for the event.  In addition, the organizers were delighted to welcome Indigenous artist, Ben McKeown and 1956 Olympian, Marg Woodlock-McLean as speakers at the event, who shared their thoughts personally with the crowd.

Other eminent Australians showed their support of the Vigil in the form of specially written pieces that were read out at the Vigil, and included contributions from former Prime Minister and Head of CARE Australia Malcolm Fraser, former Governor-General Sir William Deane, The Hon. Robin Cooper MP, then Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, then Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Philip Ruddock, Martin Dixon MP and Senator Aden Ridgeway. Local contributions came from Mornington Secondary College student, Stephanie, Jonathon from Dromana Primary School and the Rev. Tim Gibson. Also present on the night were local Federal MP’s Bruce Billson and Greg Hunt.

To read all the Thoughts for Peace, click on the links below (listed in alphabetical order):

Steve Bracks

Robin Cooper

Sir William Deane

Martin Dixon

Malcolm Fraser

Dr Arun Gandhi

Reverend Tim Gibson

William Kelly OAM

Ben McKeown

Sally McLean

Christine Nagorcka

Aden Ridgeway

Phillip Ruddock

Marg Woodlock-McLean

Jonathon (Aged 10)

Stephanie (Aged 16)

While this event took place over a decade ago, our situation globally, unfortunately, remains relatively the same.  This site has been created to remind us how the world changed also for Australia in September of 2001, what our reactions were to those events and what has yet to change to achieve peace in our time.