ACT News

Canberra student's drawing to star as Australia Day Google doodle

A Canberra student's pencil drawing of an Indigenous mother and child will star as the Google homepage logo next Australia Day after it won a national competition.

More than 24,000 students responded to the call out for a drawing on the theme of "If I could go back in time I would", but it was 16-year-old Ineka Voigt's depiction of a "Stolen Dreamtime" that Doodle 4 Google judges deemed the best.

"I thought to myself, if I could go back in time I'd want to change what happened with the stolen generation. Being more realistic I can't change it, but instead I wanted to send a message of reconciliation," she said, settling on a wish to reunite mother and child.

"[It's] my own little way to say sorry."

Ms Voigt's school, Canberra High, has also won 10 Nexus tablets and $10,000 to spend on technology, which Ms Voigt said she wants to go to the arts and history departments.

The year 10 "artivist" – that's an artist and activist combined – said she felt a cultural connection to Australia's Indigenous people after spending time with her family in Indigenous communities.

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The day her drawing would appear on the Google homepage was also significant, she said.

"I wanted to send this message of reconciliation on Australia Day because it's important for us to recognise our achievements, but also look at the atrocities. I believe that the stolen generation is one of the greatest atrocities in Australia's history."

She was initially worried about the reaction from her Indigenous teachers and peers, but said the response had been grateful and supportive.

As one person told her, while the stolen generation was not her story, she was still a messenger for history.

While the young woman's friends joke she could be the first female president of an Australian republic, Ms Voigt said her approach is "not political, it's humanitarian".

"I think I have a clear view of what's right and what's wrong, and that's why it confuses me that the government refuses to legalise gay marriage and change the constitution [to recognise Indigenous people].

"I get very affected by the stolen generation. In what world is taking a child away from its mother correct?"

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