NAIDOC Week events celebrate culture

July 9, 2021 BY

Dr Deanne Wilson will give a talk today (Thursday, July 8) at the National Wool Museum as part of NAIDOC Week. Photo: NATIONAL WOOL MUSEUM

EVENTS to mark NAIDOC Week have already begun across Geelong and the Bellarine, and the community has been invited to join in and reflect on the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The City of Greater Geelong put together a list of 20 key Aboriginal sites and venues last year in a virtual trail, presented in partnership with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation and Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative.

The list has three new locations in its second year.

Starting in Little River and ending in St Leonards, the online trail was designed to shine a light on some of the hidden and not-so-hidden places of significance across the municipality.

One of the new locations encourages community members to view the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation’s Healthy Country Plan video, which tells of the collective dream of a healthier future for Wadawurrung people and Country.

Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation chief executive officer Paul Davis explained the importance of the theme of this year’s NAIDOC Week, which runs from July 4-11.

“This year’s NAIDOC Week theme, ‘Heal Country!’, is a call for greater protection of land, water, sacred sites and cultural heritage,” Mr Davis said.

“For Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, this can be achieved in many ways such as simply allowing Wadawurrung Traditional Owners safe and respectful access to places of significance to manage and preserve their cultural heritage.”

Other events across Geelong for the rest of the week include:

  • An artist talk at the National Wool Museum today (Thursday, July 8) at noon with Wadawurrung woman Dr Deanne Gilson, taking participants on a journey to hear about her art practice and how she uses traditional cultural knowledge to inform new contemporary artworks
  • Digital projections on City Hall and the Barwon Water forecourt from 6-11pm until Sunday, July 11, featuring artwork by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people developed through the Torch and animated by multi-media artist Matt Bonner
  • The Heal Country walk/run/ride/roll, presented by Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative and Clothing the Gap on Saturday, July 10 at 9am, which starts at Balyang Sanctuary and allows participants to register to walk or run 5km, 10km, 21.1km or 42.2km along the Barwon River
  • Reconciliation in the Park, in Johnston Park from 10am on Sunday, July 11, where Aboriginal community members in partnership with Geelong One Fire Reconciliation Group will present a day of culture sharing, learning and connections, and
  • Banners featuring artwork by Billy-Jay O’Toole, artist and Wadawurrung Traditional Owner, will be flown around the region.

Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher said it was exciting to see the virtual tour expand in its second year.

“This year’s NAIDOC Week theme asks us all to recognise, protect and maintain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s culture and heritage, which goes back thousands of generations.

“I encourage community members to look through the virtual trail to gain an understanding of the history and culture of Wadawurrung people and Country and to consider how we can all contribute further to reconciliation, promote understanding and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our community.”

For more information on Geelong and the Bellarine’s NAIDOC Week events, head to the City of Greater Geelong’s website.

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