Well, what a deadly day was had in Sydney yesterday, when Hyde Park played host to its first ever NAIDOC Week Celebration. Banners had been flying across the city for some weeks, but it wasn’t until 11am that under a blue Biami-blessed sky the party officially kicked off.
Uncle Max Eulo (above) lead the opening procession with a traditional smoking ceremony designed to cleanse the area and any of those lucky enough to breathe in the smoke as well. We were then treated to a performance by DANCESTRY (pictured below) and a welcome to country by Aunty Millie Ingram (pictured below below with renowned photographer Mervyn Bishop). The final part of the opening ceremony was a powerful reading by MC Luke Carroll, who shared the poem ‘Son of Mine’ by the late Oodgeroo Noonuccal.
As the sun shone and women learned basket weaving in one of the many marquees, passersby were serenaded by the sounds of Marcus Corowa, the Stiff Gins, Australian Idol Casey Donovan (pictured with yours truly below – love Casey’s hair, oh, and her voice of course!) and the ever stunning Microwave Jenny.
One of the highlights of the day for me was seeing the elegantly agile Mr Matty Shields of Australia’s Got Talent fame (do yourself a favour and click on Matty's name to watch his amazing performance from last year). Matty took took to his pole, as it were, and perform to the heavenly sounds of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu . The pics below testify that our Matty has more than just talent!
For me, community events of this kind provide a wonderful and warm opportunity to be reunited with friends and family, many of whom I only see at funerals. Yesterday, I caught up with someone I’d met 20+ years ago, someone who mistook me for another deadly diva, and a friend from Western Australia. Oh, and they weren’t all Aboriginal people, because NAIDOC is everyone’s celebration!
The City of Sydney has a week-long jam-packed program – why not get along and have some fun! Check out: www.sydneynaidoc.com.au or phone 92659333
PS that's me with the lovely Hannah Donnelly, co-chair of the National Youth Advisory Panel Council at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, NSW