In celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and achievement, several community events were held throughout the local area as part of NAIDOC Week 2012.
Celebrations kicked off at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre with performances from storyteller Auriel Andrew, didgeridoo playing extraodinaire Ruben Andrew, and Indigenous inpired dance from Hunter Sports High, to an audience of almost 500 local school children.
A Flag Raising Ceremony and Community BBQ from Black Creek Aboriginal Corporation was well supported by approximately 70 attendees, with many staying on to participate in a march from Cessnock TAFE grounds around the Cessnock CBD.
Another popular event held during the week was the didgeridoo playing and clap stick painting at Samaritans Neighbourhood Centre. The activity attracted around 45 participants who were delighted at being able to play the didgeridoo as well as paint and play the clap sticks and create their own dot paintings to take home.
Local Indigenous Artist, Les Elvin, was very pleased to see at least 90 attendees at the Opening Night of the exhibition of artworks produced by young local Indigenous students, held at Cessnock City Library during NAIDOC Week. The quality of the artworks was outstanding, with the result that three of the paintings were sold on the night.
Local NAIDOC Week celebrations concluded with another well-attended Flag Raising Ceremony and Family Fun Day at Rotary Park, Kurri Kurri.
Coordinated by Barkuma Neighbourhood Centre in partnership with Cessnock City Council, the main focus of the day was to bring together the community to celebrate Indigenous culture and reflect on the theme for NAIDOC Week 2012, ‘Spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 years on’.
Attended by at least 150 people, interactive stalls including Indigenous art and craft, animals from Hunter Valley Zoo and family entertainment kept the crowd amused, while Barkuma’s famous bush tucker sausage sizzle ensured all were well fed.
With success of NAIDOC Week events for 2012, it is hoped that the community will continue to recognise and celebrate together the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture and continue to participate in NAIDOC Week celebrations in the future.
For more information regarding NAIDOC Week please contact Council's Help & Information switchboard on 4993 4100.