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Wee Waa community comes together for NAIDOC ceremony

Wee Waa schools, community members and dignitaries came together yesterday for the town’s NAIDOC week opening ceremony.

Wee Waa community comes together for NAIDOC ceremony

ABOVE: Mayor Conrad Bolton, Wee Waa High School Principal Annabel Doust, Wee Waa High School Aboriginal Education Officer, Helen Wenner (also Chair of the Aboriginal Education Consultancy Group), Wee Waa High School Director, Rebecca Langdon (Department of Education and Communities), National NAIDOC Committee Member and former Wee Waa resident, Steve Widders, and Wee Waa Public School Principal, Peter Carrett. Rachel Freer made the beautifully decorated cake.

Wee Waa schools, community members and dignitaries came together yesterday for the town’s NAIDOC week opening ceremony.

A clear, sunny winter’s day provided the perfect weather for the celebrations, which unfolded at Dangar Park.

The opening ceremony included a Welcome to Country, the raising of the Aboriginal flag and presentations by elders and visiting dignitaries.

A traditional dance performance, wood carving exhibition, games and a free barbecue lunch were also highlights of the celebration.

Local high school teacher Rachel Freer made a cake beautifully decorated in NAIDOC theme.

National NAIDOC Committee member, and former Wee Waa resident, Steve Widders made a speech exploring the theme for this year, ‘We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate.’

“Everywhere the land tells the story of the aboriginal people,” he said.

“A well known example is Uluru, which has particular cultural and spiritual significance because it is seen as the heartbeat of the land, but there are thousands of places across Australia just as important as Uluru.

“We are all standing on sacred ground and I encourage everyone to learn about the land they are from.”

The Aboriginal Education Consultancy Group (AECG) organised the day, recruiting the support of local schools and agencies.

BEST Indigenous Community Links, Ability Links, the Neighbourhood Centre, Namoi Family and Youth Service, Partners In Recovery and Reconnect Family Support were some of the agencies involved in the organisation of the day. All local schools also supported the AECG. Wee Waa High School Aboriginal Education Officer, Helen Wenner, is chair of the AECG and said NAIDOC week was an important event for the community.

“It’s about sharing our history, both nationally and locally here in the Wee Waa district,” she said.

“It’s important that people understand where aboriginal members of the community have come from and the hardships they have faced.

“It’s a whole community event and we are so thankful that the schools were able to be involved.”

Dignitaries present included Mayor Conrad Bolton, Aunty Stella Lamb, Rebecca Langdon from the Department of Education and Communities and Principals from each of the schools.