OUR past blended perfectly with the present at Muswellbrook’s Simpson Park on Monday.
A big crowd of residents, and community leaders, took part in the annual Flag Raising and Cultural Day ceremony to acknowledge NAIDOC Week 2018; and the inspirational Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women under this year’s theme, Because of her, we can!
Aunty Gay Horton “did the honours” of cutting the specially-made cake, which looked incredibly like a real tree trunk.
The participants in the BHP Billiton-sponsored NAIDOC Week competition were recognised, too.
The winning entry, designed by Tayla Van de Leur, will now appear on the Muswellbrook Rams’ jersey later in the month.
Meanwhile, proud Aboriginal man and world-renowned didgeridoo player Richie Lawton also performed – but not until he praised his mother, first.
“I’m one of 10 children, however my mum was a very strong woman,” he said.
“She gave me an education, which I’m thankful for.
“My mother made us go to school every day.
“If we didn’t attend, we weren’t allowed to do our culture – like going out in the bush, doing a bit of hunting and bringing some food back home.
“In the end, all the kids went through to grade 12.”
The Upper Hunter NAIDOC Awards 2018, which recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who are achieving great things in all areas of society, from education to art, industry to community, sport and youth, will wrap up proceedings later in the week.
Categories include: Apprentice of the Year, Artist of the Year, Community Contribution Award, Elder of the Year (both male and female), Professional Achievement, Scholar of the Year Junior (both male and female), Scholar of the Year Senior (both male and female), Sportsperson of the Year Junior and Senior, Volunteer of the Year, Youth of the Year (ages 16-21 years old) and Posthumous award.
The Wanaruah NAIDOC Committee will host the ceremony at the Muswellbrook RSL Club on Friday, July 13, from 6.30pm.
The cost of the tickets, which includes a three-course meal, is $15 (in advance) or $20 (at the door).
They can be purchased at the Wanaruah Local Aboriginal Land Council at 19 Maitland Road.