The Original Sapphires

The first Sapphires, the original Sapphires sweet melodies soothed the minds of a weary nation during Reconciliation Week 2013 in Adelaide SA.

By Nicola Butler

Ivan- Reconciliation Bfast 2013 (136)


Back L – R Ellie Lovegrove, Kerry Reilly, Brian Butler, Lorna Sutherland (nee Wilson) and Dulcie Wilson Front L – R Lowitja O’Donoghue with 3 of the original Sapphires – Laurel Robinson, Beverly Briggs and Lois Peeler in Adelaide May 2013

Ivan- Reconciliation Bfast 2013 (123)

Back L – R Ivan Tiwu Copley, Ellie Lovegrove, Nancy Bates, Vonda Last and Robyn Layton with 3 of the original Sapphires – Laurel Robinson, Beverly Briggs and Lois Peeler in Adelaide May 2013

Ivan- Reconciliation Bfast 2013 (119)

A full house enjoyed the entertainment and wonderful breakfast held at the Convention Centre in Adelaide

All Images by Ivan Tiwu Copley & Mia Fantasia-Copley

All who attended the recent Reconciliation Breakfast held in Adelaide on 27th May 2013 had the privilege of hearing the original Sapphires sing and to be inspired by their humility and grace.

This year’s Reconciliation Week vision was one where fairness and equality no matter who you are or where you come from, welcomes all to belong and contribute to our future: “A united Australia, which respects this land of our; values the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage; and provides justice and equity for all.”

In Reconciliation Week 2013, we remembered the pain caused by treating First Nations people as less human than other people, and the ongoing damage that has been done to our social fabric and national character as we continue to call on our political leaders to lead with the determination not to repeat the sins of our past – and of our present.

Our leaders must have the determination to call out discrimination, prejudice and hate-speech wherever it is found – and escort its supporters from the political ground.

As Aboriginal and Islander (including the Torres Strait) people we must reconcile the disharmony and lateral violence within our own families, communities and nations to allow us the opportunity to be in a position to recognise our common humanity, celebrate our national diversity, and call for an end to the politics that inflict fear, division and prejudice that continues to shape and erode our character on a national and international front.

Original Sapphires

The original Sapphires. photographed in their St Kilda apartment 1966. From left: Laurel Robinson, Naomi Mayers(lead singer) and Beverley Briggs

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HOLLYWOOD is about to turn on its bright lights for the March 22 US premiere of The Sapphires, but first the AACTAs spotlight will be turned this week on the real women behind the acclaimed movie’s success.

Set to share Wednesday night’s red carpet with A-listers like Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett, Laurel Robinson and Beverly Briggs admit there are nerves ahead of taking a well-deserved bow for their role in inspiring the smash hit movie.

It was Laurel’s son Tony Briggs who retold the true story of his mother and three aunts who were transformed into the first indigenous all-girl singing group, fashioned to rival The Supremes and who would later tour Vietnam to entertain the troops.

With 12 AACTA nominations, including best film, the foursome (which also included Naomi Mayers and Lois Peeler) The Sapphires is poised to continue the sweep which saw it bank $14.3 million at the box office.

Earning their own applause, the women will join Jessica Mauboy and a choir of soul singers on stage at the end of the Australian Idol star’s performance of one of the sound track’s hits, I’ll Take You There.

Robinson said: “they asked us to sing with Jessica and the choir but we said no…” with Briggs adding, “we’d be drowned out anyway.”

A humble Robinson, who is preparing to fly to Los Angeles for the movie’s US debut, said: “we’ll just come out and take a bow, we’re happy with that.”

Instead the elders sang the praises of Mauboy, who affirmed her movie star potential in the comedy drama.

“She’s amazing…she’s just a little bundle of dynamite. Always cheerful, always smiling,” Robinson said.

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