During Brisbane’s World Expo 88, the people of the Northwest Territories in Canada offered their congratulations on the occasion of Australia’s Bicentenary by presenting a 5m stone cairn, called an Inukshuk, to the Queensland Government.
After Expo 88 the Inukshuk was located outside the entrance of the State Library of Queensland, where it remained for more than 15 years. With extensions to the State Library it was moved to its present location on the pedestrian bridge at Victoria Park in suburban Brisbane. The Inukshuk was re-dedicated by High Commissioner Michael Leir on April 6, 2006.
At the 2004 unveiling ceremony the Premier of Nunavut, Paul Okalik, sent the following message of support: “It is my hope that the Brisbane Inukshuk will serve as a reminder of the contribution of aboriginal culture to global diversity and as a monument to the friendship between Canada and Australia.”
Inuksuit (plural of inukshuk, an Inuit word meaning “in the image of man”) are stone figures built by the Inuit to resemble humans and can be found throughout Arctic Canada.
Originally built as directional markers on the treeless horizons to guide those who followed, and to assist in caribou hunting, the Inukshuk has been adopted today as a symbol to remind us of our dependence on each other and the value of strong relationships.
Inuit, Inukshuk, Brisbane
The Inukshuk was made by Alvin and Jimmy Kannak, who come from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, the Canadian territory that was previously part of the Northwest Territories.
A commemorative plaque depicts a map of North America, highlighting Canada and the Northwest Territories (including the land that is now Nunavut) to the north:
On the occasion of Expo 88, Brisbane, Queensland, the people of the Northwest Territories, Canada, offer their congratulations to the Commonwealth of Australia on its 200th anniversary of nationhood. This stone cairn Inukshuk is a symbol of friendship between the peoples of our two countries. High in the Canadian Arctic, Inuit built stone Inukshuks in the shape of humans to direct herds of migrating Caribou to hunters, and to act as landmarks for travellers.