It was a cold misty morning when Sandra Morgan came down to open the gate for George so he could start his fire for his camp oven cooking – catering for the mobs that would join the NAIDOC celebrations later in the morning. People slowly started to trickle in – over 30 stallholders had booked sites. We had been having weekly NAIDOC planning meetings with all the stakeholders which really paid off as everyone knew what was required and went about setting up and participating with great ease.
At 10am Cherbourg Police Rangers laid a wreathe at the war memorial, to pay tribute to our Black Diggers. The proceedings kicked off at 10:30am. Mayor Bone welcomed everyone to Country and Kenny Day and Cindy Button raised the Torres Strait and the Aboriginal flags. Chrissy Bond and Michael Monk were MC for the day and did a brilliant job. Eric Law paid tribute to our fallen Diggers and Sandra Morgan welcomed everyone and spoke about the importance of preserving our history and promoting reconciliation in the region. Ada Simpson and Miranda Fisher and Shane Dynevor jnr all spoke about the importance of NAIDOC and what it means to them.
CEO of Cherbourg, Warren Collins announced the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council awards. We were so proud when Sandra Morgan, Ada Simpson and Rocko Langton won awards for the work they do at the Ration Shed Museum. It was time for the entertainment – the Barambah Dancers gave a spectacular performance, proceeded by the Kingaroy Tongan youth dancers and then finally the AIM youth dancers and singers.
The smell of BBQed onions and sausages, the camp oven wallaby stews as well as the Bush Tucker food Craig Hopkins had prepared had the crowd standing in long queues for a good feed. There were so many wonderful activities and things to look at.
Some of the highlights included our Sports Exhibition, which drew massive crowds. The loud Musical Playground, which attracted plenty of youth and adults. Budburra Books ran an artwork shop and some deadly art was produced. There were also traditional games, fruit smoothies, face painting, beading, a range of films to watch, and a variety of other wonderful stalls run by numerous community organisations like PCYC, Community Health, the Barambah Medical Centre and many others.
We over heard someone say that they thought it had been the best Cherbourg NAIDOC celebration to date!
Thanks to all our volunteers, stallholders, supporters and visitors who made the day such a great success.
We also want to acknowledge our funders and supporters who made this event possible:
- The Department of the Prime Minster and Cabinet
- The Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs (or DATSIMA)
- Barada Barna Traditional owners