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NAIDOC Week 2022 Celebrations

NAIDOC Week is a significant time on the calendar each year for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is a time for us to come together and celebrate our culture.

This year’s theme ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’ signifies the many years that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have fought for systemic change for our community and the work that we all need to do to continue the path to reconciliation.

Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation hold activities all week long for our community members, as a time for us to reflect on the past, learn from our Elders, embrace our culture, and look toward the future.

Here at Winda-Mara we hold many activities throughout the week for our community and this year we had a deadly turnout. After two years of disruption due to COVID-19, it was so good to see everyone back together for the week taking part in our activities.


Monday 4 July

Flag Raising (Heywood), Opening Ceremony (Hamilton), Health Promotion Day (Heywood)

We had a fantastic turnout for both the Heywood flag raising and Hamilton opening ceremony. These events are open to the broader community as well, and it was fantastic to see so many people from outside our organisation come along and celebrate the start of NAIDOC week with us.

The flag raising opened with a Welcome to Country from Aunty Janice Lovett followed by some words from our CEO Jason Walker, our Chairperson Uncle Michael Bell, and an update on the Budj Bim Tourism Centre from tour guide Braydon Saunders.

We were treated to a deadly performance from the Koondoom Yarkeen Karweeyn dance group, with some fathers and sons performing together for the first time.

The raising of the flags was completed by LJ Bell and Aunty Laura Bell, Aunty Val Lovett, and Aunty Thelma Edwards. We’re so lucky to have these Elders with us on these important days.

Afterwards, we got to hang around and have morning tea provided by the Heywood Bakery while having a yarn and a catch up with everyone.

We’re so thankful for all the partnerships we have built over the years with other local businesses and individuals and look forward to developing them further moving forward.

The Hamilton opening was held at our Thompson St Health Clinic.

We again started with both Aunty Jan Lovett and our CEO Jason Walker saying a few words with Aunty Jan speaking about how important it has been for Winda-Mara to be building relationships within the Southern Grampians Shire over the last few years. We look forward to developing those partnerships as we move forward.

We were once again treated to a performance from the Koondoom Yarkeen Karweeyn dance group and had a deadly afternoon tea provided by Kings Bakery.

After the flag raising was finished in Heywood, we held a Health Promotion Day giving community the opportunity to get ATSI Health Checks done for our kids in the community, as well as sharing health information for everyone to check out.


Tuesday 5 July

Elders Lunch, Family Portraits, and Kevin Kropinyeri comedy show

Tuesday was all about our Elders. We provided them with a delicious two course meal of roast and veggies followed by sticky date and pavlova and they were treated to a performance from Jayden Lillyst.

Our Elders were also given the choice of many gifts from deadly Aboriginal owned businesses and artists.

Clothing The Gaps hats and socks

Ngarga Warendj Dancing Wombat brooches and mugs

Light + Glo x Cher’nee Sutton candles

Dreamtime Kullilla-Art purses and scarves

Koh Living candle holders

The Koorie Circle earrings

Alperstein Designs x Warlukurlangu Artists gift packs

After lunch, we gave the community the opportunity to come and get some professional family photos taken, thanks to Nicole Cleary Photography. We hope everyone loved their photos!

Tuesday night we were treated to a performance from the deadly comedian Kevin Kropinyeri. We packed out the Heywood Pub dining room and laughed non-stop the entire time. Kevin knows how to tell a yarn that’s so relatable to all of us and we were so lucky to have him come down and spend the night with us.


Wednesday 6 July

Mission Walk, Youth Formal

The Wednesday of NAIDOC Week means it’s time for our walk out to Lake Condah Mission, leaving from Lovetts Lane at Greenvale just outside of Heywood. We do this walk to honour all our Elders that came before us who had to walk from the Mission into Heywood every day.

We had a beautiful sunny day which meant we had a deadly turnout.

Once we finished the walk, we headed to Kurtonitj for some lunch.

Wednesday night saw our Secondary school kids attend a Youth Formal held at The Wharf @ Port Fairy. Kids from Heywood, Portland, Hamilton and Warrnambool all attended and had a deadly time.

There were make-up and hair stations set up at the beginning of the night, and formal wear had been kindly donated as an option for the kids to wear.

Thanks to Mami & Co Event Hire and Balloons by Rubes (both based in Heywood) for the deadly decorations!


Thursday 7 July

Community Day and Dinner (Heywood)

Thursday was a big day with the community day set up at the Heywood Hall.

There were plenty of activities on hand for everyone to check out including colouring in, reading, painting, possum skin art, crafts, and checking out our health display. We had a great turnout throughout the day, and it was great to see so many families doing the activities together.

This was followed by community tea which was soups, casseroles and desserts and even with the deadly turnout, we still had people taking food home with them!


Friday 8 July

Community Day (Hamilton)

Our Hamilton community day was held at HIRL and we had a fantastic turnout. So many families came along for lunch provided by Kings Bakery, and to take part in our activities which included arts, colouring in, jewellery making, possum skin art, reading and much more. The kids were able to take home their creations to display.


Saturday 9 July

NAIDOC Ball (Portland)

The week was wrapped up with the community NAIDOC Ball held at the Portland Golf Club.

We were treated to some delicious food and entertainment from Aaron Morgan and Dean Outtram & Damon Yuill for the night. A deadly way to end the week!


Thanks to all of our helpers for the entire week, as we know these activities can’t go ahead without you.

And thank you to all our families and community members who participated at any time throughout the week. It was deadly seeing everyone’s smiling faces!


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