WORIMI NAIDOC week across Port Stephens was a phenomenal success, with all events organised by the Land Council attended in large numbers.
The week kicked off with a traditional opening at the Port Stephens Council Chambers on Monday.
Uncle John Ridgeway OAM, Worimi elder, played an important role in the opening, as did Andrew Smith, CEO of Worimi Land Council.
Deputy Mayor Chris Doohan spoke to the crowd gathered on the chilly morning.
“I encourage everyone to learn as much as they can about the Worimi culture, whether you are Indigenous or not.”
“NAIDOC is one week, but we can use what we learn this week to help us to promote a community free of discrimination, [that] works towards reconciliation, pride in culture and an even better tomorrow,” he said.
Wednesday saw a march, special ceremony and community barbecue in Nelson Bay.
Thursday was the Port Stephens NAIDOC Touch Football Championship, which resulted in a hard fought final for the second year taking place between Worimi and RAAF.
RAAF were the winners on the day, taking out The Cup, with runner up Worimi taking home the Plate.
The culmination of a wonderful week of culture, was the outstanding community day put on at Murrook Cultural Centre.
Young children were treated to jumping castles, rides, bracelet weaving, rock painting and more.
Local businesses and relevant stakeholders were on hand with education and knowledge sharing of their services available to the community.
A barbecue, fresh fruit stall and freshly cooked damper filled everyone’s bellies, and the crowds were entertained by deadly performers.
Jacob Ridgeway, Worimi man, and his partner Kat Waria, a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman, played beautifully for the crowds with a passionate performance.
Last Kinection, a Newcastle formed local Hip Hop group got the crowd going again with a special performance.
Dr Joel Wenitong from Last Kinection told the crowd how special it was to see so many people proud of their culture, out celebrating the day.
“We’ve got so many black and deadly faces, caramel and golden too.”
“It’s so amazing to see us all together, proud of our culture.” he said.
Last Kinection brought a star struck young fan, four year old Louie Bovill, onto the stage to sing his favourite song ‘Black and Deadly’ with his idols.
Louie’s Mother, proud Wiradjuri Woman Michelle Bovill, told News Of The Area, “NAIDOC week is a time to celebrate our culture, community and kin while reflecting on the strength, resilience and determination of our ancestors and elders.”
“Worimi NAIDOC event is always a special one, but this year our Land Council took the event to new heights.”
“I am so grateful to raise my children in this community, with so many amazing role models to look up to and feel proud to be Aboriginal,” she said.
By Rachael VAUGHAN