Education / News / Community / Featured / 29th June 2023
For our Elders - a massive NAIDOC Week lineup
There is plenty of activities on offer as part of this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations in Coonabarabran, including the inaugural NAIDOC Ball this Saturday, 8 July.
Brandon Nixon, Coonabarabran Local Aboriginal Land Council (CLALC) CEO, said the idea to host a NAIDOC Ball in Coonabarabran came from the theme of NAIDOC for 2023 – ‘For our Elders’, with hopes to create a special night to recognise and celebrate local Indigenous Elders.
“The ball has been well-received in the community and ticket sales have exceeded our expectations – they have almost sold out,” Mr Nixon said.
However, Mr Nixon said it was not just the Coonabarabran community celebrating at the NAIDOC Ball, with people coming from all over Australia to attend the event.
For its inaugural NAIDOC Ball, CLALC has organised an impressive line- up of artists to perform on the night, including Mitch Tambo – who became a national sensation after his incredible performances on Australia’s Got Talent, and Isaac Compton – who recently hit the headlines for his win on Channel 9’s “The Summit”.
Yaama Café will be cater the event, with Indigenous flavours incorporated into every dish.
The NAIDOC Awards will also be presented on the night to Indigenous community members who have excelled in areas including activism, sport, language, and story telling.
Mr Nixon said none of this would have been possible without the support of local businesses and community organisations.
“We have received numerous sponsorships and offers of help from a wide range of businesses and organisations; it’s great to see how involved the community is and wants to be,” he said.
“We are looking forward to a great night, with the community celebrating the ones who mean the most and have led the way – our Elders.”
As well as the Ball, there will also be a range of community celebrations extending throughout NAIDOC Week.
These events include an open gathering at Neilson Park on Sunday, 2 July, to kick off the celebrations, followed by plenty of
activities throughout the week including ‘lingo bingo’, children’s playgroups and a children’s NAIDOC Disco at the Coonabarabran Town Hall.
On Friday, 7 July, the Indigenous round of league will be held at Binnaway Sports Oval, where the Coonabarabran Unicorns will go up against the Binnaway Bombshells.
NAIDOC celebrations will also be held at local schools before the winter school holidays.
Coonabarabran High School principal, Mary Doolan said the school plans to celebrate NAIDOC on Friday, 30 June, with a morning tea for Elders followed by a celebration assembly after recess. The assembly will commence with a traditional smoking ceremony and dance, with Alison Stanton as this year’s guest speaker.
Following the assembly will be the annual Uncle Bill Robinson NAIDOC Challenge League Tag Cup and a range of other NAIDOC activities, including Speaking Country Bingo, Weaving Country, and Knowing Country with Graham Kelly.
Ms Doolan said that this year’s theme was an especially relevant one for education, as Elders are the knowledge keepers of the community.
“It is wonderful that our Elders are central to this year’s NAIDOC Celebrations,” Ms Doolan said.
At Coonabarabran Public School, principal Lucy Evans said NAIDOC Week was an important week on the school calendar and that the school planned to celebrate throughout the final week of term with a flag-raising ceremony, a whole school barbecue, and an open day in classrooms.
“NAIDOC Week allows us to stop and reflect as a school on the importance of Indigenous culture,” Mrs Evans said.
“This year’s theme is a wonderful opportunity to thank and celebrate our Elders, who have been supporting our school in a variety of ways for many years.”
Check out the full lineup of NAIDOC events HERE.